OVER 20% of students with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) at the country’s tertiary institutions have no access to treatment, a new health report has claimed.
by Phyllis Mbanje
The Students and Youth Working on reproductive Health Action Team (SAYWHAT) says it recently conducted a survey at four universities and discovered that students were receiving inadequate information on sexual reproductive health matters.
“Thirty-five percent of college students are having sex with concurrent (multiple) partners,” the report read, adding this had the net effect of fueling the spread of STIs.
According to the research, despite the high figures of STIs, students had limited access to treatment for the infections, anti-retroviral therapy and contraceptives.
There was also no facility of post exposure prophylaxis, which is given to victims of rape to prevent contracting HIV.
Other critical services like cervical cancer screening and control, and post-abortion care were also not available at the institutions.
The research comes against the backdrop of global reports indicating that Aids-related adolescent deaths in Africa had tripled over the last 15 years.
“It is critical that young people, who are HIV positive, have access to treatment, care and support,” said Craig McClure, head of Unicef’s global HIV and Aids programmes.
Meanwhile, more than 10 million men and adolescent boys in sub-Saharan Africa have undergone voluntary medical male circumcision for HIV prevention.
This is according to a recent report released by the World Health Organisation at the just-ended 18th International Conference on Aids and STIs in Africa in Harare.
Randomised controlled trials have shown that voluntary medical male circumcision reduces the risk of acquiring HIV by about 60%.
Follow-on studies have shown that this level of protection may increase over time to reach 74%.
In Zimbabwe, as of September 2015, 500 000 men had been circumcised from a target of 1,3 million men aged between 15 and 29.