MACHEKE - Adolescents are driving new HIV infections, the National Aids Council (Nac) has warned.
Nac monitoring and evaluation director Amon Mpofu told journalists at an HIV and Aids intervention workshop yesterday that young people, particularly adolescent commercial sex workers, needed particular attention as the country battles the epidemic.
“New infections are being driven by adolescents. Our emphasis is now on adolescents, especially girls,” Mpofu said.
Zimbabwe has made enormous strides against HIV/Aids in the adult population, with a sharp drop in new HIV infections and a corresponding decline in Aids-related deaths over the past decade.
Nac has since stepped up efforts to reach the elusive population segment under its Sister-to-Sister programme.
“We are currently having a fall in HIV incidence among older sex workers but it’s rising among younger sex workers.
“This is probably because it’s more difficult for the young girls to negotiate for safer sex,” Mpofu said.
He added that reaching commercial sex workers was generally difficult because they usually operated late at night, hence a need for innovation in service delivery.
He classified youths among the hard to reach populations which he said included men, truck drivers and commercial sex workers.
Mpofu said they were particularly concerned over reaching mobile populations.
“Mobile populations are difficult to find and offer services,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nac executive director Tapiwa Magure said they were hoping to eradicate Aids by 2030 in 14 years.
“We are no longer talking about the three zeros but triple 90s-90 percent reduction in new infections, 90 percent reduction in stigma and discrimination and 90 percent in reduction of Aids-related deaths,” Magure said.