THE City of Bulawayo is witnessing an increase in the prevalence of HIV among women and persons of diverse, sexual orientation and gender identities.
Speaking at the Fast-Track Cities signing ceremony Wednesday, Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni, revealed the prevalence of new infections in young girls and women was more than double the number of infections in men between the ages of 15-24.
“Although the new infections have declined by approximately 60% from 2010 to 2020, we still have a long way to go. Of concern is the prevalence of new infections in young girls and women,” he said.
“The rate of HIV prevalence among key populations such as men-who-have-sex-with-men, transgender, and queer individuals is 23,4%, much higher than 13,77% in the general population.”
The mayor also expressed concern over the high HIV infection rate in vulnerable communities such as mines and farms.
He said the local council had equipped all its 19 clinics to offer HIV/Aids integrated programmes with a special focus on key populations.
“Our staff have been trained from the most senior to junior on how to ensure we do not discriminate our patients. Working with different partners, we will be training other non-medical staff in our clinics such as security guards and cleaners to ensure that our integrated programmes on HIV are managed at all points of treatment of our patients.”
Mguni added the lack of HIV knowledge among the new young generation was also worrisome as they were vulnerable and the most affected.
The Fast-Track Cities is a global UNAIDS initiative of municipalities working together to end the HIV epidemic by 2030.
The mayor pledged the city’s commitment to be part of cities and municipalities working to end the pandemic.