The Sunday News
Walter Mswazie, Masvingo Correspondent
EFFORTS to fight HIV prevalence in Masvingo province are being hampered by cases of child prostitution with Chiredzi district being the worst affected, an official has said.
Speaking during a provincial National Aids Council media engagement meeting in Masvingo on Thursday, provincial co-ordinator Mr Evos Makoni said a number of young girls were involved in transactional sex in the province.
“We have a challenge in our efforts to reduce the HIV prevalence in Masvingo. Of late there are many under-age girls involved in prostitution especially in Chiredzi. While we are yet to do a survey to come up with statistics, it has been observed that young girls are frequenting night spots soliciting for transactional sex. This negates our efforts towards achieving a zero HIV infection rate by 2030.”
Mr Makoni said Masvingo was littered with hotspots which are attracting young commercial sex workers who target long distance truck drivers.
“We have identified a number of hotspots in Masvingo province where transactional sex is rife. The most disturbing thing is that under-age girls, some as young as 12 or 13 years are involved.
“They are seen competing with the older ones especially for truck drivers along our highways. In Chiredzi, there are under-age girls, which older sex workers, refer to as ZviMkwasine.
“At Zaka Jerera Growth point, the under-age sex workers are referred to as ZviTokwe Mukosi,” he said.
Mr Makoni said other hotspots where under-age girls were involved in transactional sex include Mhandamambwe Growth Point in Chivi District, Mpandawana-Gutu town, Nyika Growth Point in Bikita, among others. HIV prevalence rate stands at about 14 percent in Masvingo province while Chiredzi has a prevalence rate of about 15 percent. Zimbabwe has an HIV prevalence rate of about 14,7 percent, according to the Ministry of Heath and Child Care. [email protected]