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Bulawayo HIV prevalence rate drops: NAC

The National Aids Council says the HIV and Aids prevalence rate for the city of Bulawayo has reduced from 18% to 15% between the period 2006 to 2011.

NAC organiser for Bulawayo province Sinatra Nyathi said this came out in their annual review for the year 2012.

She said the reduction is a direct response to HIV campaigns by her organisation.

“There is a slight change in behaviour as people now practise safe sex,” said Nyathi. “There are also more people who go for testing than previously and this informs people to take appropriate measures to protect themselves.”

Nyathi also said access to antiretroviral therapy drugs has contributed to the drop. She further said their annual review revealed that they failed to reach their target of testing over 50 000 people managing a paltry 13 000 in Bulawayo and other provinces such as Midlands and Matabeleland North.

Nyathi highlighted that it is unfortunate that among those who were tested there was a low turn out by males.

“A few males and couples came for testing but we recommend people to test as couples,” she said. “We also experienced a low turn up in urban areas though we initially thought such people had knowledge so they would come in large numbers.”

Evelyn Ndlovu, a Bulawayo resident concurred that very few men are keen on going to test saying this hinders the efforts of reducing the spread of the disease.

“We wish men could agree and go for testing because those people are difficult,” said Ndlovu.

Nqobani Gasa a young man said it depends on individuals as not all men refuse to go for testing. He however called upon all men to support their partners by agreeing to go for HIV/AIDS tests.

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