Mpumalanga Health MEC concerned about HIV/AIDS infection among girls

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Mpumalanga Health MEC Sasekani Manzini has raised concern about the HIV/AIDS infection rate among girls between the ages of 15 and 24. Manzini encouraged people to test and those positive to take treatment immediately.

The provincial Health Department commemorated World AIDS Day in Matsulu, outside Mbombela.

Discrimination is still rife in many health centres which leads to people defaulting on their medication.

“They will say take your file while it has a sticker and they will tell you to go to that container to show that you are living with HIV and that is a big challenge to us,” a patient says.

“We still see more resources channeled to health, especially in Mpumalanga.  Our health is not funding the response through civil society or NGO, as you know in Mpumalanga, we are second, we still have more battles to win,” another patient explains.

Despite the steep incidence declines in Mpumalanga, it remains the second province with the highest HIV prevalence. Though measures are put in place to reduce the infection rate, patients who default on taking their medication is worrisome.

“As much as we are second, what gives us comfort is that 95 % of these people we know them and what we need to work on is that our communities, is that if you have tested positive it’s a good thing because we treat you immediately, we put you on treatment. So that’s where we are working on also get was the highest in the country and now it has moved,” says Manzini.

More than 95 percent of the population in Mpumalanga has tested for the disease. Latest statistics on the status of the HIV/AIDS pandemic suggest new infections are among girls and young women.

“We are very concerned about the females around that age, we must put more effort in protecting those young girls because to me a young girl of fifteen years knows nothing about sex. It means the community and those infringing should be arrested, they are not only sleeping with them they also infecting them and also making them pregnant, it needs to stop,” Manzini added.

Members of the public are urged to test and take medication and with the right treatment and care people with HIV can live a normal life.