Over 53,000 people were infected with sexually-transmitted diseases in Harare between January and June this year, the National Aids Council (NAC) has said.
Health experts said this might mean that people were not using condoms worth millions of dollars that were being distributed.

Speaking at a full council meeting on Thursday, NAC provincial co-ordinator for Harare Mr Adonija Muzondiona said between the first and second quarter, 20 000 new cases were treated.

He said out of the 20,000 cases in the last quarter, over 6,000 returned for the same treatment after reinfection.

"In Harare, we are getting a lot of people who are being infected with Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).We have about 53 000 people who were being infected with STIs from January to mid – year. While over 20,000 people were treated for STIs in the last quarter, over 6 000 were re-infected. This clearly shows that people are having unprotected sex as a result, paving way to HIV infection," said Mr Muzondiona.

According to World Population Review, Harare has about 1,6 million people.

Mr Muzondiona said in Harare alone, at least 120 000 people were receiving HIV and AIDs drugs daily, a figure that he was was prudent to maintain.

According to NAC, these figures could be just a tip of iceberg as most men sought treatment from private health institutions, while others preferred traditional concoctions.

Mr Muzondiona urged councillors to take the lead in the prevention of STIs because the rate of increase in Harare was above any other province.

Mr Muzondiona said this year, the African Union (AU) had requested Zimbabwe to host this year’s African commemorations of World Aids Day.

He said the commemorations would be held at Gwanzura Stadium.

Zimbabwe Community Health Intervention Research Programme’s director, Mr Walter Chikanya, said there was need for behaviour change and not to expose their spouses to HIV and Aids.

Harare Mayor Clr Bernard Manyenyeni, said the rise in STIs was worrying and action should be taken with immediate effect.

"The reported rise in the STIs in the city is worrying especially given the relationship this has with HIV infection. Re-education and information sharing must increase. We must react now not later, or we lose past gains in this fight against the bigger epidemic."

The World AIDS day is commemorated throughout the world and each country has to commemorate at national level on the 1st of December of each year.

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