Kaniki casual sex rate drops – study

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THE number of men involving in casual sex in Kaniki area in Ndola has reduced from 37 per cent to 18 per cent the Community Mobilisation for Preventive Action (COMPACT) project has said
However, the organisation says abuse of alcohol remains high and contributes to most of the new HIV infections.
COMPACT chief of party Chabu Kangale said during an awards ceremony in Kaniki grounds yesterday in which the project awarded the residents of Kaniki for making positive changes in behavior, that the project has helped reduce men’s involvement in casual sex from 37 per cent to 18 per cent.
Mr Kangale, however, said alcohol abuse among men which stood at 20 to 30 per cent compared to women’s 15 per cent was a major contributor to new HIV infections recorded since the project started.
The project, which is funded by the United States and implemented by the Population Council, started in 2010 in four of the six communities where the project was implemented to measure the impact of HIV.
To measure changes in behaviour and HIV, COMPACT conducted a baseline study in 2011 and a midline study in 2013 while the endline study would be completed in the first quarter of 2015.
Mr Kangale said the midline study showed that there was a decrease in levels of males having non-regular sex from 37 per cent to 18 per cent.
There was an increase in the proportion of females supporting equitable gender norms from 65 per cent to 80 per cent.
Between 53 to 61 per cent reported condom use at last sex with their non-regular partner and the  number of people testing for HIV has increased from 41 per cent to 69 per cent.
However, alcohol abuse problems were more common among males (20-30 per cent) than females (less than 15 per cent).
“Alcohol abuse remains a challenge but am happy that the bars in the area have cooperated, with help from police, to open their bars as late as 10:00 hours compared to 06:00 hours previously and close earlier by 22:00 hours,” Mr Kangale said.
Ndola District Administrative Officer Taphen Mulongo said he was happy with the work COMPACT had done to help curb alcohol abuse and sensitise the public on the link between alcohol abuse and risky sexual behaviour and gender based abuse.
Mr Mulongo urged the residents of Kaniki to report all cases of gender-based violence as that would help reduce new infections of HIV because it would change the mindset of people.
A representative of community based organisations which operate in Kaniki, Ireen Sinkala said the number of hours bars operated in Kaniki area have reduced because of the sensitisation programmes and interventions by police.

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