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Over half of Gweru prostitutes HIV+





GWERU has 3 500 self-confessed prostitutes and up to 60 percent of them are HIV positive, a National Aids Council (Nac) official has revealed.

Nac Gweru District coordinator Mr Murari Hwingwiri said out of the sex workers operating in the urban centre, between 55 and 60 percent are living positively with HIV, a development that he said was worrisome.

"The figures are quite disturbing if we look at the national statistics, only 15 percent of the prostitutes on our national database are HIV positive. In Gweru between 55 to 60 percent of the 3 500 ladies of the night on our database are HIV positive," he said.

Mr Hwingwiri said they are still to find the reasons behind the disturbing figures in the city.

"As Nac we are still looking for the reasons why the numbers of sex workers living positively are still so high in Gweru unlike other cities," he said.

Mr Hwingwiri urged men to go for HIV testing as most of them are still shunning HIV and testing services as compared to women.

"Most men in general have a poor health-seeking behaviour meaning they shun HIV testing. They are not aware of their HIV status. When they are sick they prefer herbs first and if they are at the point of death that is when they are likely to prefer to use health institutions and get to know their HIV status," said Mr Hwingwiri.

He, however, said on a positive note most people in Gweru who are HIV positive are now on anti- retroviral therapy.

"While we are admitting that there is an increase in the number of people who are HIV positive mostly sex workers, we also want to take this as a positive step.  It shows that people are no longer shunning health facilities.

"This is quite encouraging as people are now receiving treatment and in turn reducing the mortality rate," Mr Hwingwiri said.

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Over half of Gweru prostitutes HIV+
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