THE HIV/AIDS infection rate in Kitwe has continued to increase, with 4,690 people testing positive in the first and second quarters of 2015, according to the Kitwe district medical office.
And Kitwe district commissioner says boarding houses are the major breeding grounds for HIV transmission in the city, warning that soon men, including the clergy frequenting these facilities will be arrested.
Giving a presentation on the HIV/AIDS status in Kitwe during the District Development Coordination Committee meeting yesterday, Dr Mumba Musonda said the prevalence rate of HIV in Kitwe stands at 18.3 per cent.
“In the first and second quarters of 2015, we tested 37,808 and out of this number 4,690 are positive. The number of people initiated on ART for first and second quarters is 3,486. These are the true statistics for Kitwe,” Dr Musonda said.
She said Kitwe further had 1,619 people that were on TB drugs.
“We have still maintained that over a thousand test positive in Kitwe every month and there are those that test from the private clinics and we are yet to get those statistics. The levels of male circumcision have also gone down, something that needs to be worked on,” Dr Musonda said.
And chairperson of the Kitwe DDCC Chanda Kabwe said HIV/AIDS was claiming lives of many people.
“Half of the population in Kitwe is gone and dead with HIV. The problem we have is the men who frequent the boarding houses, which are the breeding ground for HIV infections. We will tell the police to arrest the [people whose] vehicles park at boarding houses in Kitwe. We are the worst culprits in these issues, including the clergy; you find their vehicles parked at boarding houses,” Kabwe said.
He said it would not make sense to close the boarding houses because the ‘customers’ still follow the girls.
“Even if we close these boarding houses. The customers (men) still look for these girls. I wonder why we leave our homes for these girls in boarding houses. We need to change our behaviour if we are to win the fight against HIV. The greatest resource we have in this country is human capital, but why should we have a sick capital?”
Kabwe said the Church should start serious prayers to redeem the district.
“What is happening in Kitwe is worrying. There is a lot of bad behaviour among the people. So we are asking the Church to pray for Kitwe so that people can change. Why should Kitwe be associated with these vices?” asked Kabwe.
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