THE National Aids Council (NAC) in Bulawayo has disclosed that few men volunteered to accompany their pregnant spouses for HIV tests during the first quarter of this year, thus exposing their partners to possible re-infection.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
Health experts encourage men to jointly undergo HIV tests with their pregnant spouses to prevent Mother To Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT).
During the period under review, a total of 3 103 expecting mothers in Bulawayo underwent voluntary HIV tests as compared to 535 men who volunteered for the same tests.
“The proportion of men up taking HIV Testing services in NAC is low, this calls for appropriate programming that encourages men to test,” said NAC provincial monitoring and evaluation officer Douglas Moyo.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) emphasizes on testing early in pregnancy (testing within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy) so that they access treatment early if they test HIV positive. The province is, however, still experiencing a number of women presenting later than the recommended 12 weeks.”
The report goes further to show that the number of recorded sexually transmitted diseases among females than males has been on a steady rise since last year.
“However, there was a sharp increase in the number of new female cases from 993 in 2016 to 1396 in 2017,” Moyo said.
The report follows Bulawayo City Council’s move to scale up the male circumcision drive to reduce new STI and HIV infections.
The country has since 2009 been targeting to circumcise 1,3 million men between 13 and 29 years by end of this year after researchers established that the procedure reduced the chances of contracting HIV by 60%.
The procedure also protects the female partner from getting infected by the human papilloma virus which causes cervical cancer.