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Companies ignore AIDS programmes

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THE National Aids Council (NCA) has expressed concern over lack of interest by most mining companies in the Midlands province to bankroll HIV/Aids programmes, targeting sex workers and small-scale miners despite the heavy concentration of mining activities in the province.

STEPHEN CHADENGA

NAC Midlands provincial programmes officer Margaret Mika said there was need for mining companies to come on board and support HIV/Aids initiatives, particularly those targeting small scale miners.

“While the province is awash with mining activities, there are few complementing partners implementing programmes for small scale miners, sex workers and truck drivers,” Mika said.

The province is endowed with minerals such as platinum, gold and chrome, among others.

The various minerals found on the Great Dyke have witnessed an increase in mining activities in the province with commercial sex workers flocking to mining sites to cash in on the mineral riches.
Most mining sites, especially in Kwekwe, have been identified as HIV hotspots.

Studies have shown that illegal gold panners, popularly known as amakorokoza, often engage in unprotected sex with sex workers, thereby increasing the rate of HIV and sexually transmitted infections.

Mika, however, said despite these challenges, there had been an increase in the uptake of both male and female condoms in the province.

“There has been an increase in the uptake of both male and female condoms from 1 423 845 and 61 276 to 1 928 884 and 64 016 male and female condoms respectively from the first quarter to the second quarter,” she said.

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