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GIRLS between the ages of 11 and 16 continue to be highly vulnerable with a total of 909 having been sexually abused in three months, National Aids Council (Nac) has revealed.

In its 2015 first quarter report, Nac says 1 855 people have been sexually abused although cases of sexual violence declined during the period under review.

Out of these people, a total of 1 655 sexually abused clients were tested for HIV with women constituting the highest number of 1,519.

According to the report, of the total number of sexually abused people, 136 were men and 1519 were women.

One man tested positive while 77 women tested positive.

“In this regard, there is need for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to combat cases of rape and gender based violence among young girls and children,” revealed the report.

Gender activists, however, contend that figures of sexual abuse could be even higher, as a number of cases go unreported.

On another note, over 26 million male condoms and over 1 million female condoms were distributed during this quarter.

However 48 337 new Sexually Transimitted Infections (STI)’s were recorded country wide.

The number was however an 8% decrease from 52 823 cases recoded in 4th quarter of 2014.

Nac says the 25 to 49 years age group contributed the highest percentage (64%) of the clients newly treated for STIs followed by the 20 to 24 age group that made up 20% of all clients newly treated for STI in the quarter under review.

Children 10 -14 years made up 2% of clients treated for STI.

Six out of 10 provinces recorded increases in the number of clients who were treated for STI in the quarter under review with the highest increase of 37% being reported in Matabeleland South.

Nac says four provinces including Harare which recorded 10 000 cases, Midlands, Matabeleland North and Mashonaland Central recorded decreases in the number of clients treated for new STIs with the highest decrease of 88% being in Matabeleland North province.

STI community dialogues, mobilisation and awareness campaigns were conducted in the provinces reaching 10,274 people.

The HIV positivity rate for STI clients decreased from the 16% to 15 % and the programme registered a 1% increase in the number of contacts of the new STI clients who were traced.

The programme has been conducting community dialogues with support from NAC as one of the strategies to increase contact tracing.

Source : New Zimbabwe

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