Bindura records 800 new STI cases

HARARE - The mining town of Bindura has recorded a boom in sexually transmitted infections (STI) with 800 new cases having been recorded in the first quarter of this year alone.

A breakdown of the shocking figure means Bindura town, which is rich in mineral resources such as nickel and gold and where many people are still living in compounds and farm houses, records a total of 200 new cases of STIs per month which translates to 50 cases a week.

Speaking to the Daily News, National Aids Council (Nac) Bindura district coordinator Agrippa Karuru said the increase in the (STIs) is dragging the country back in the fight against HIV.

“STIs  are on the rise and we have been currently analysing our annual report of 2012 and the quarterly report of 2013 indicate that there are 800 new cases quarterly which is quite high compared to the 700 new STIs cases of 2012,” Karuru said.

Hard times in mining towns, most of which are desolate as mines close, have forced many young women to date “sugar daddies” who entice them with cash and unfortunately exposes them to STIs, according to health experts.

For instance in Bindura, the largest mine Trojan closed in 2008 and many people rely on vice, not least prostitution.

“People are indulging in unprotected sex and there is an exchange of STIs. We have a situation when old men are preying on young ladies. Old men are experienced and have more partners. This is how STIs are spread,” Karuru said.

Despite the fact that condoms can be obtained for free or for a nominal fee, too many people prefer unprotected sex, if statistics, not only in Bindura, but elsewhere across Zimbabwe are anything to go by.

But Nac says Bindura is not giving up yet and will intensify condom distribution and then launch a programme to educate school children on safe sex methods, Karuru said.

Many residents in Bindura, which has a population of 155 556, used to work at closed mines or on citrus farms which are now rundown and cannot offer much for those seeking a livelihood.

Notwithstanding intensive education on safe sex methods the country’s health centres last year handled over 260 000 cases of sexually transmitted infections with some of the infections becoming drug resistant.

Harare recorded the highest number of sexually transmitted infections, according to a report released by the Nac.

Of the 261 032 recorded across Zimbabwe, 45 699 were from Harare.

Another trend showed that of the overall figure, over 157 000 were women.

Masvingo recorded the most recurring and the most drug-resistant cases of infections.

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