CHINGOLA has recorded an increase in the number of HIV infections, according to a non – governmental organisation, Latkings.
Latking, that offers Sexual Reproductive Health Knowledge to adolescents in schools, is carrying out awareness programmes in Chingola, is seeking answers as to why Chingola had increased the number of HIV and AIDS case.
The organisation has noted that the continued increase in HIV infection cases in the district was worrying because it puts girls at risk.
Latkings’ Chingola district coordinator Ruth Mutaneko and some adolescents visited the district health office to discuss and see how best they could work together.
“The organisation has increased acceptance and access to sexual and representative health information and services to 500 girls as its primary target is to meet over 4000. But the increase is worrying,” Mutaneko said.
She said Latkings’ Outreach Programme has got two adolescent friendly spaces in Chingola with a view of making them more attractive to the youths.
And Chingola district senior clinical officer Chaila Siluyele told the group that the district was working hard in putting up measures to ensur that the figures are brought down.
Dr Siluyele said inasmuch as the district was putting up measures to fight the pandemic, young people still shun Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) services.
He said despite putting up youth friendly corners in clinics to improve on privacy, young people were scared of stigma.
“Some fear mixing with adults but still the youths are not showing up. This is the same scenario with adults. They come when they are sick or when they have been infected by HIV. The question is, why are the youths afraid of coming? What is the cause of the fear? The district health office has and is still doing a lot of sensitisation meetings and going to the media yet nothing was changing,” he said.
“The other thing is that parents should also put in effort and come out in the open and talk about HIV to their children. Inasmuch as parents want to pretend about HIV/AIDS and sex to the children, they [youths] are still having sex or are getting information elsewhere.”
Dr Siluyele said it would be best if the knowledge of sex and other issues came from parents.
He encouraged the young ones to focus on education and not petty things like sex as it would help them in the future.
“What will help you in future is education, not sex or the latest phone you see and want to get now. But you can buy your own with your own hard earned money when you get education,” he said.