'Women fail to disclose HIV/Aids status'

MASVINGO - Zimbabwean women are not disclosing their HIV/Aids statuses to spouses in fear of breaking their marriages.

Southern African Aids Trust country director Roselyne Dete said the situation has given rise to women not being able to adhere to their treatment, resulting in children being exposed and infected with HIV during pregnancy.

“The power dynamics in the marital homes are the reasons why many children are being born with HIV and why some women are not adhering to treatment,” Dete told a recent media gathering in Masvingo.
Dete said male dominance and lack of participation in HIV programmes hinders progress in the fight against HIV.

She said men are stealing medication from their spouses while some are still in denial, hence refusing their wives and children access to treatment.

“There is need for health services to reach the people who are not accessible to hospitals and clinics nearby. Advocacy and promotion of HIV initiatives should be available especially to the men. These initiatives should be communicated in vernacular languages, so that members of the community can be informed about HIV/Aids,” Dete said.

Health ministry official, Kudakwashe Masiniri said failure by women to disclose their status to partners is a challenge in the fight against HIV/Aids.

“Women are afraid that they break marriages if they disclose their status to spouses. Women also suffer since they bring their children to the hospital alone without their husbands.

“There is need to encourage couples to go for testing to ensure both parties understand what needs to be done if they are found positive,” said the ministry official.

A couple living with HIV who requested anonymity said people living with the disease need to disclose their status and support each other.

“After disclosing your status to your spouse it is important that the couple supports each other. Through the support couples will adhere to medication. This courage will help see the marriage through the difficult times,” said the 50-year-old husband living with the HIV virus.

The couple revealed to journalists that by going for testing and counselling together, couples get fully informed and can manage to have children despite their HIV status.

“Through adhering to the PMTCT programme we have a healthy baby girl at home. And because I have been taking my medication I have a CD4 count of 1120. I can live long and look after my baby,” beamed the 40-year-old mother of four.

The ministry of Health, EGPAF and other partners are currently facing challenges such as shortages of health care workers coupled with a national health worker recruitment freeze, lack of an explicit policy to support task sharing and an erratic supply of commodities.


Comments (1)

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wVada - 10 September 2013

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