Public health alarm as Gweru grapples with rising STIs


GWERU – A worrying surge in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) has been reported in the city of Gweru, with a total of 214 cases recorded in November 2023, according to Dr. Samson Sekenhamo, the Health Director of Gweru City Council. 

Gweru rising STIs

The figure, which includes 128 cases among females and 86 among males, represents a significant increase from the 138 cases reported in October.

"The rise in these infections is very worrisome, especially among younger generations," Dr. Sekenhamo said. 

"We have noticed that these children are engaging in promiscuous behavior due to the high usage of drugs. As a result, STIs are on the rise because of drug and substance abuse."

The sharp rise in STI cases has raised alarm bells, highlighting a growing public health problem. The consumption of illegal drugs like crystal meth/mutoriro is contributing to risky sexual behavior, particularly among the younger generation. 

The Midlands Hotel has emerged as a prominent hub for commercial sex work, further exacerbating the situation.

In response to the crisis, health education campaigns targeting adolescents, who are at the heart of the problem, are being implemented. Despite the availability of an adequate supply of condoms, their usage remains low among individuals aged 18-24, as indicated by the statistics.

STIs encompass a range of infections primarily transmitted through sexual contact. These infections can be promptly diagnosed and treated. However, the situation in Gweru reflects a more complex issue that demands a comprehensive approach. 

A study conducted between 2020 and 2022 in Zimbabwe revealed a high prevalence rate of STIs among young people, with 20% testing positive for at least one of three common STIs: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Trichomonas.

Dr. Sekenhamo emphasized the importance of prevention in curbing the spread of STIs, saying that consistent use of protection during sexual activity, limiting the number of sexual partners, and seeking proper diagnosis are vital measures to control the transmission of STIs.

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