LOCAL sports persons have been challenged to disclose their HIV status in a move meant to curb silent deaths.
Speaking at a National Aids Council (NAC) organised workshop for sports journalists held last week in Kadoma, Masimba Mutemaringa, an official from the Department of Sport and Recreation in the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation said:
“Athletes are encouraged to disclose their HIV status. This is meant to curb silent deaths. We believe they lack information on the importance of disclosing their status. They have been greatly affected over the years and journalists have a duty to help local sports personalities freely disclose their HIV status,” said Mutemaringa.
He added that the case studies in tackling AIDS through sport demonstrated the potential of sport and its capacity to embody many of the essential policy actions for HIV prevention set out in the 2007 UNAIDS report.
Mutemaringa also underscored that Tackling AIDS through Sport describes initiatives that build and maintain leadership, equity, support the empowerment of young women and men and promote knowledge of transmission and prevention.
“These programmes are based on the principles of mobilising community-based responses and targeting the HIV prevention needs of key vulnerable groups,” he said.
Despite the spirited fight to combat the problem, HIV is reportedly the number one killer in Zimbabwe between the years 2007 and 2017 followed by Tuberculosis, Lower Respiratory Infections, and Neonatal Disorders and Ischemic heart diseases.
However, in those 10 years the number of HIV/Aids related deaths had been reduced by as much as 83,3 percent while the mortality rate has risen from the 2004-5 low of 46 for females to just 64. For males it rose from 44 to 58.
According to a recent report by Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), an independent global health research centre at the University of Washington sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that targeted people between the ages of 15-49, Harare has the highest number of people living with HIV in the country while at least one in five people in Bubi District has the virus.