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Shurugwi town; Midlands Province’s HIV/Aids hotspot

by commuadmin

CommuTalk Reporter

SHURUGWI: The mining town of Shurugwi is Midlands province’s new HIV and AIDS infection hotspot with commercial sex workers standing accused of leading in the infections according to the latest statistics from the National Aids Council (NAC).

The Midlands province has around seven thousand registered sex workers with around 2500 of these based in Shurugwi, while Gweru and Kwekwe are some of the areas with high numbers of such workers.

With the country’s HIV infections going down to around 12 percent from a high of 15 percent, stakeholders in the fight against new infections are worried by the trend in the heart of the Great Dyke.

“As a country, we continue to move in a relatively positive trajectory in fighting new HIV and AIDS transmissions. We have realized that most new infections are within the commercial sex workers who are contributing around 50 percent of such infections.

“It’s a worrying trend. We have been trying to reach out to communities with a high rate of infection and transmitting onward transmissions. To that end, we have trained 40 nurses and sensitized 195 other health workers,” said NAC Provincial Coordinator, Mambewu Shumba.

Commercial sex workers however say they are faced with a myriad of challenges in their line of duty.

“It’s a risky job but sometimes we just have to do what we have to do in order to put food on the table. We sometimes meet some very rich clients also known as Mbinga or Mhene who offer too much money for unprotected sex. It is really difficult to resist.

“We also have some violent clients who threaten you with machetes if you resist unprotected sex. This is why most of us end up being infected by HIV and AIDS,” said Midlands Commercial Sex Workers representative, Yvonne Kaurai.

The Midlands province is a gold-rich province, a situation that has seen an influx of artisanal miners who are high spenders thereby attracting the attention of commercial sex workers.

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