Health care givers in Bulawayo have lamented the increase in number of new HIV/AIDS cases recorded amongst teenagers.
A nurse educator, Sister Moyo, from Mpilo Central Hospital told Bulawayo residents at a recent Vuzu Party stakeholders consultative meeting that most teenagers are engaging in unprotected sex hence the increase in the pandemic cases.
Sr Moyo said according to a National Aids Council (NAC) quarterly report, the number of victims who had reported to have been raped and contracted the pandemic was highest amongst teenagers who are in the Vuzu party going age group than in any other.
She said lately most teenage girls have resorted to accompanying each other to health centres to access contraceptives- an indication they are knowingly indulging in unprotected sex.
“Rape cases which have been reported within the first quarter are as follows 0 to 5 years there are 16, 5 to 9 years there are 34, 10 to 14 years there are 29, 20 to 25 years there are 5, 25 to 29 years there are 8, 30 to 49years there are 8, those above 50 there are 4 while those between 15 and 19 recorded 55 cases,” said Sr Moyo.
Sr Moyo noted they have recorded a huge number of teenagers defaulting their anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) resulting in them succumbing to the pandemic.
She said this results in a need for the teenagers to resort to second and third line of treatment which is very expensive and out of reach for many.
“The main possible reasons why they default is either they would be too drunk to remember to take their medication or would be embarrassed to take them in front of their friends,” said Sr Moyo.
The nurse educator said this becomes a deterrent to attaining the triple 90 goal by 2030.
“This goal aims to attain a reduction of HIV/AIDS new infections by 90%, reduction of HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination by 90% as well as reduce HIV/AIDS related infections by 90%.”
“For as long as these Vuzus are not contained these goals would be an impossibility to attain,” she said.
Sr Moyo said due to the fact that most of these young girls indulge with multiple partners at the same time, it becomes difficult to establish who the father of the child is.
“These girls find themselves carrying unwanted pregnancies. They resort to backdoor/illegal abortions and the wort they drop out of school,” she said.
Sr Moyo urged young people to desist from constant and excessive drug and alcohol abuse as this has led a substantive number of them to be admitted to Ingutsheni Hospital for rehabilitation.