Men not getting tested for HIV/Aids is a major issue

2014-09-18 00:00

THE unwillingness by men to be tested is a major stumbling block in the fight against HIV and Aids.

This emerged from delegates who spoke at the annual provincial aids conference at Pietermaritzburg’s city hall yesterday.

Patric Mdletshe, the newly appointed chairperson of civil society (which represents various NGOs across the province), identified this as one of the biggest challenges.

“What continues to be a problem is that many men do not go for testing; instead they impregnate someone in order to find out their own status,” he said.

The shocking statement was echoed by other Health Department officials, who said society needs to change the way people fight HIV and Aids.

Mdletshe said on the positive side there have been improvements in the fight against Aids in KwaZulu-Natal, which has the highest HIV prevalence in the country.

He, however, expressed concerns about the rate of new infections.

Officials from provincial government also revealed that it was distributing a staggering 50 million condoms per quarter. This prompted some delegates to ask whether the government was still planning to open its own condom factory.

The mayor of Msunduzi, Chris Ndlela, also highlighted concerns that some residents were misusing condoms trying to cure other ailments.

He said he had learnt from the HIV/Aids organisations that some residents were using the gel in the condoms for rubbing painful bones, trying to cure arthritis.

This was dismissed by MEC for Health, Sibongiseni Dhlomo. He said, however, that such practices needed to be discouraged.

“We have no evidence that condoms are used for arthritis. But that needs to be discouraged. They do not cure arthritis and even if they did, they were not made for that.”

Dhlomo encouraged would-be mothers to go for early HIV testing, pointing out that many women die during child birth as a result of of HIV/Aids complications.

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