A majority of Zimbabwean males aged between 25 and 29 seek HIV testing and counseling services towards marriage.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
This was said by Advocacy Core Team Coordinator Mr Chamunorwa Mashoko who referred to a United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)report while addressing a media science café organized by the Humanitarian Information Facilitation Centre (HIFC) on Wednesday.
PEPFAR reports that the age group between 25 to 29 years are testing more, are initiated more on ART because they getting married and doing weddings more. So that brings in the perspective on religion,” he said.
He revealed that PEPFAR gave Zimbabwe USD11 million to involve local faith based organisations in the HIV response.
“PEPFAR right now has committed USD11 million towards the faith initiative response because of that report because of these trends that faith plays a major role. Not from a perspective of blaming prophets who claim to heal HIV which can be correct but from an information perspective to the HIV community. High testing and High uptake,” Mr Mashoko said.
He also said that men has gender constructed roles of providing, protecting and procreation.
“Once you do the provision, the protection, a man is able to procreate. So now when a male is challenged after coaxing a girl and is told to start with the HIV test, some of us run away because you are afraid to test. So your biological purpose is challenged hence your psychological wit to go for health services,” said Mashoko.
Mashoko also said that there was need for African men including Zimbabweans to spearhead to establishment of HIV research centres which come up with prevention tools to address the disease.
“Where I am supposed to provide, I am dependent 89percent from external funding as a concumer again. In my closing remarks I said Africa by now, 30 something years since the pandemic started we have no reputable HIV response centre to develop vaccines.
“Why we want to prevent we want to play our prevention role which currently not. There is evidence that we as Africans are capable of researching. I will give you an example of a very active advocate researcher in South Africa. Salim based in Johannesburg. That brother has done great in terms of HIV response. So already we have evidence that we can do it,” he said.