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Companies ignore Aids programmes

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THE Midlands province has few supporting partners in the mining sector implementing programmes for sex workers and small-scale miners despite many mining activities dotted around the province, a National Aids Council (NAC) official has said.

STEPHEN CHADENGA
OWN CORRESPONDENT

Mdilands NAC programmes officer Margaret Mika said there was need for mining companies in the province to come on board and support HIV and Aids initiatives, particularly those targeting small-scale miners.

“While the province is awash with mining activities, there are few complementing partners implementing programmes for small scale miners, sex workers and truck drivers,” Mika said.

The province boasts of both giant and small companies mining rich minerals such as platinum, gold and chrome, among others.

The various minerals found on the Great Dyke have witnessed an increase in mining activities in the province with commercial sex workers flocking to the area to cash in on the mineral riches.

Areas in the province like Kwekwe, where there has been a gold rush by small-scale miners, have been identified as hot spots with the highest rate of people testing HIV-positive at 25% as compared to 19% in the first quarter of 2014.

Studies have shown that illegal gold panners, popularly known as amakorokoza, often engage in unprotected sex with sex workers thereby increasing the rate of HIV and sexually transmitted infections.

Mika, however, said despite challenges, there had been an increase in the uptake of both male and female condoms in the province.

“There has been an increase in the uptake of both male and female condoms from 1 423 845 and 61 276 to 1 928 884 and 64 016 male and female condoms respectively, from the first quarter to the second quarter,” she added.

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