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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Mining settlements remain STIs red zones

Story by Regis Mhako

MINING communities remain red zones for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), in the wake of revelations, some women are engaging in rampant sexual activities with multiple partners.

Confessions from a daring sex worker in the Etna mining area, located some 30km east of Kadoma will send shivers down one’s spine.

She says she has been intimate with 200 men from the same settlement, while her colleague also confirms that she has contracted STIs several times after her sexual escapades.

“I have slept with about 200 men here. Sometimes repeatedly. They never fight because they understand the game. I however have received education on prevention methods to reduce the risk of infection,” said Respina katuruza, (not her real name).

“I have been in this area for five years and because of lack of knowledge then I bedded some men without protection and contracted STIs on several occasions. However that has come to an end because I now know about protection,” said Laiza Mvura,(not her real name).

As if that is not enough, artisanal miners in the area are equally careless confirming that behaviour is influenced by uncertainty over their fate underground.

Various organisations including the National AIDS Council (NAC) have rolled out awareness programmes, with the Centre for Sexual Health, HIV and AIDS (CESSHAR) confirming that up to 3 500 sex workers are being assisted by the organisation.

“Our catchment area caters for 3 500 sex workers. The challenge is that they are migratory so sometimes they miss out on the services. We are now providing pre-exposure prophylaxis for those who test negative,” said Outreach Services Worker – CESSHAR, Audrey Chikeya.

“The sex workers are very free to share information with us and they are kin to get tested sometimes they receive the necessary services like ART,” said Nursing Counsellor, Tsitsi Murare.

Sex work is considered difficult to end completely, with education on prevention and provision of services to reduce the risk of HIV and STI transmission being considered one of the best approaches to achieve positive results.

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