The National Aids Council (NAC) has noted an increase in the number of male sex workers in the Kwekwe District. NAC co-ordinator for Kwekwe urban, Ms Fadzai Mudondo said there was a need to engage them so that they do not contract sexually transmitted infections and suffer in silence. She made the remarks while speaking during a stakeholder meeting in Kwekwe recently. The Chronicle cites her as saying:
We have noticed a significant increase in the male sex workers although they are not willing to open up. Most of them are bisexual and some gay while some prefer women only.
We started engaging some of them with the hope of creating peer educators so that they can get access to our services and even medical services.
Unfortunately, we are not getting a positive response, but we will continue engaging them.The male sex workers usually target elderly sex-starved women as well as widowed women.
Ms Mudondo said their female counterparts are forthcoming and by the third quarter of 2022, about 64 female sex workers were accessing pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) ) which can reduce one’s chance of getting HIV from sex or injection drug use.
Regarding the HIV/Aids situation in Kwekwe urban, Ms Mudondo said there was a decline in both prevalence and incidence rates.
Mining towns and their floating population of artisanal miners tend to have higher rates and attract more commercial sex workers.
The Midlands province is rich in mineral resources, a situation that has seen an influx of artisanal miners who are high spenders thereby attracting the attention of commercial sex workers.
According to NAC, Midlands has an estimated 7 000 commercial sex workers with about 2 500 based in Shurugwi, although the cities of Gweru and Kwekwe attract large numbers.