Worry over rising male adolescents HIV death rate

THE National Aids Council of Zimbabwe (Nac) has expressed concern over the increasingly high number of HIV-related deaths among male adolescents compared to their female counterparts.

Latest statistics from Nac show that male adolescents between the ages of 10 to 19 years who died from HIV-related illness in 2021 were higher than female adolescents.

According to Nac, the situation has been exacerbated by the fact that there has been a decline in the number of condoms distributed across the country between 2020 and 2021 due to effects of Covid-19.

Speaking to the Daily News in an interview yesterday, Nac data monitoring and evaluation coordinator Isaac Taramusi said the high death rate among adolescents  was worrying.

“Statistics show that there were 688 deaths of male adolescents, while female deaths were 665,” Taramusi said, adding that while male adolescents’ HIV deaths were higher than females, new HIV  infections were high in female adolescents compared to their male counterparts.

“In 2021, 2 372 female adolescents were infected by HIV while 331 males were infected. It is of concern that the HIV knowledge gap continues to widen with the new generation of young people who are the most vulnerable. This shows that there is a need to intensify adolescents’ differentiated care guideline models that specifically target adolescents’ in order to reduce the high deaths of adolescents which are a cause of concern”.

This comes at a time Zimbabwe is targeting that by 2025, 95 percent of people living with HIV should know their status and of those who do, 95 percent should be on treatment while 95 percent of those on treatment should have suppressed their viral loads.

It also comes after the ministry of health is working to ensure that no Zimbabwean will be infected with HIV by 2030.


Hazel Marimbiza