No STIs treatment at tertiary institutions

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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.

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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.

1 COMMENT

  1. Many professionals have criticized the studies claiming that circumcision reduces HIV transmission. The investigators did not seek to determine the source of the HIV infections during their studies. They assumed all infections were heterosexually transmitted.

    Many HIV infections in Africa are transmitted by contaminated injections and surgical procedures. The absolute rate of HIV transmission reduction is only 1.3%, not the claimed 60%. Even if the claim were true, based on the studies, about 60 men had to be circumcised to prevent one HIV infection.

    Authorities that cite the studies have other agendas including political and financial. Research shows that circumcision causes physical, sexual, and psychological harm, reducing the sexual pleasure of both partners. This harm is ignored by circumcision advocates. Other methods to prevent HIV transmission (e.g., condoms and sterilizing medical instruments) are much more effective, much cheaper, and much less invasive. Even HIV/circumcision studies advise using condoms. With condoms circumcision adds no benefit to HIV prevention.

    Circumcision will not be “voluntary” when it is forced on children.

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