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    Saturday, 8 July 2017

    Only 2,1% youth in Chiredzi tested for HIV


    CHIREDZI – Adolescents in Chizvirizvi in Chiredzi North are shunning HIV testing programs with just 2,1% of them having been tested for HIV Aids.
    Statistics from Chizvirizvi Rural Health Care (CRHC) shows the area has a population of 2 210 adolescents and of those only 48 have been tested for HIV during the first quarter of this year.
    Speaking during a community day dialogue organised by The Ministry of Health and Child Care last week, the sister-in-charge at Chizvirizvi, Esnath Siduna said there were a number of reasons that could be the causes of the low turn out.
    She said one reason could be that youth were not comfortable to be tested alongside adults including their parents. She said there was need for a youth friendly corner.
    "If the pupils mix with adults in the same queues for tests while wearing school uniforms they are labelled many things including prostitutes. Such arrangements stigmatise the pupils," said Siduna.  
    Another hindrance to the testing programmes is that those under the age of 16 require parental consent before they are tested.
    "Many parents are sceptical when it comes to giving their children consent for HIV testing and this has seen fewer youth coming forward," said Siduna.
    Learnmore Baravaza who came for testing said some children feared that nurses will take heir HIV results to their parents and there was therefore no confidence the confidentiality of the process.
    Miriam Mashava from the same secondary school who is the Junior MP for Chiredzi North said the centre was too far from other schools and as a result most pupils cannot afford to walk to the clinic.
    Siduna however, said the clinic operates on strict confidentiality and therefore the youth should not be afraid to come forward.
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