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One in six sexually active females 18-24 yrs has never been tested for HIV, says UNICEF

By Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone

ONE out of six sexually active females aged 18-24 in Zambia has never been tested for HIV, a 2018 UNICEF study on Zambia has revealed.

According to the findings of the first-ever Zambian study: ‘Violence against Children in Zambia’, 2,770 households for females and 3,324 households for males were selected for the survey.

“Two out of three sexually active males and half of sexually active females aged 13-17 were never tested for HIV. One out of six sexually active females and one in three sexually active males aged 18-24 had never been tested for HIV,” the UNCEF study revealed in part.

The study conducted in conjunction with officials from the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development, UNZA, Central Statistical Office (CSO), and the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) released last month adds that the most common reason for not getting tested for HIV, endorsed by one out of three, was that individuals felt they did not need the test or were low risk.

“One in six also indicated that they did not want to know whether they had HIV,” the study indicated.

It adds that knowledge and utilisation of services for victims and survivors of all forms of violence against children in Zambia were low.

“Only one in five females and one in four males who experienced childhood sexual abuse knew of a place to go for help; fewer than one in ten male victims of childhood sexual abuse received professional services for any experience of sexual abuse,” the study added.

The study also revealed that one in three females and two in five males aged 18-24 years experienced physical violence prior to age 18.

“A quarter of male and female respondents aged 13–17 years experienced physical violence 12 months prior to the survey. Findings from the survey show that one in five females and one in six males aged 18-24, experienced emotional violence,” the study noted.

It further indicated that there was a great need to have well-coordinated response strategies, programmes and policies by both government and all stakeholders to address abuse and violence against children.

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