A number of women are hiring fake husbands to accompany them to HIV counseling and testing centres in a bid to be served first, a study by Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation (EGPAF) has revealed.
Presenting the findings of the study titled , Acceptability of lifelong Antiretroviral Treatment (option B+) among HIV-Positive pregnant and Breastfeeding Woman in Selected Sites in Zimbabwe at a UNICEF Brown bag session , Auxilia Muchedzi of EGPAF said that women in both rural (Raffingora, Zvimba and Mutorshanga) and urban (Harare) Zimbabwe are engaging fake spouses as they visit HIV testing centres.
“Women who went to the testing centres with their husbands were served first, which encourages men to accompany their wives for testing and this compelled women to engage fake husbands as they sought to be served first,” she said.
She reinforced the need to educate men so that they can disclose their HIV status to their partners.
“Men should be further educated on HIV and encouraged to test for HIV so that they accompany their wives for testing.
“The population under study reported that male involvement including providing escort to spouses to health facilities was still very low because men lack information on HIV/AIDS. This is evidenced by men not getting testing, not accepting their HIV test results and not accompanying their wives for testing,” she said.
She went on to say “Pregnant women reported that when men are not involved they are less aware of their actions affecting their wives’ health.
“Men delay the couples HIV resting because some of them know their status and they are not prepared to disclose their status to their partners.”