Kwekwe, Mberengwa lead as HIV prevalence surges in Midlands

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Statistics from the National Aids Council (NAC) has revealed that Midlands is in the red when it comes to HIV infection and AIDS.

Save for a few places such as Gokwe North most places in the gold mining province have shown a disturbing surge of the HIV pandemic with Kwekwe topping the list.

Midlands NAC coordinator Mambewu Shumba told journalists at a workshop in Kwekwe that other highest incidences were in Mberengwa and Gokwe South.

Shumba explained that the major cause for the upsurge in terms of new infections is mainly mining activities currently taking place in the province.

“The province lies on the Great Dyke where there are mining activities in the province. “What we have discovered as NAC is that every place where there is gold panning or where artisanal miners are concentrated, there are also high cases of HIV recorded,” he said.

Shumba cited Mberengwa district.

“In Midlands, the HIV prevalence stands at 13, 1%. From our findings we have discovered that Mberengwa has the highest rate of HIV incidences. Gokwe South follows closely though places such as Kwekwe and Gweru are not very far from Mberengwa,” he said.

HIV incidences are very high for Kwekwe and Gweru amongst children.

In terms of prevalence rate, Kwekwe comes first in the province and second in the country.

“In terms of HIV and AIDS burden, Kwekwe is the highest in the Midlands province and comes second nationally,” Shumba said.

The provincial coordinator added that currently 177 286 people are living with HIV.

 “As of January to March this year, we had 177 286 people living with HIV in Midlands Province, with just above 133 000 of them, on Anti-retroviral Treatment (ART).”

The province has since recorded a serious increase in the number of people on ART.

“The total number of people receiving ART as from January to March 2018 is 134 868 from 134 071 in 2017,” Shumba said.