Munyaradzi Musiiwa Midlands Correspondent
National AIDS Council (NAC) is proposing mandatory HIV testing for couples before they could get a marriage certificate. Speaking during a meeting with Members of Parliament on HIV and AIDS in Kadoma, NAC monitoring and evaluation director Mr Amon Mpofu said there was need for couples getting married to know their HIV statuses first.
Mr Mpofu said it should be a prerequisite for couples intending to get married to go for HIV testing.
“We want pastors and magistrates or any other marriage officers to demand proof of HIV testing from couples intending to get married. We need to protect our children,” he said.
Mr Mpofu said at least 45 percent of female students in tertiary institutions were living with HIV that they contracted during the course of their studies.
He said approximately 45 percent of female students in tertiary institutions contract HIV during the course of their programs.
Mr Mpofu said there has been a surge in cases of new HIV infections among adolescent girls particularly those in tertiary institutions.
“If you look at the statistics we have, there are high cases of new HIV infections among adolescent girls between 15-24 years. We have also observed that about 45 percent of female students in tertiary institutions contract HIV during the course of their studies. Most of them graduate while HIV positive. There has been a 45 percent increase in new HIV infections among female students.
“We have engaged the vice chancellors in universities after observing that living conditions of our children in tertiary institutions are exposing them to the risk of contracting HIV. They have shown commitment to address the issue of accommodation,” he said.
Mr Mpofu said the disequilibrium between RTGS/Bond Notes on one hand and foreign currency is now affecting the Aids Levy which was used as guarantee to apply for Global Fund funding.
He said there was need for Government to prioritise procurement of ARV drugs to avoid drug interruption.
“As we are aware there are foreign currency shortages in the country and it has also affected us. Government has not been allocating us enough foreign currency.
‘‘We get about $50 000 and $200 000. This is not enough and Government should allocate more foreign currency towards the procurement of ARV drugs,” he said.
Mr Mpofu said there are about 1,3 million people living with HIV in the country and at least 1 166 000 are now on treatment.
“At least 86 percent are now on ARVs but if we fail to get foreign currency from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe it will reverse the progress,” he said.