Kabwe Mayor Prince Chileshe says condom use among sexually active Zambians is frighteningly low and has since called for more education to increase awareness on the benefits of protected sex.
Speaking at the Civic Centre during the commemoration of the World’s AIDS Day , Mr Chileshe said few Zambians between the age of 15 and 24 were using condoms to protect themselves from contracting HIV and AIDS.
Mr Chileshe said there was also need for people to be aware about the expiry dates of condoms, safe packaging and application in order to be protected from the virus.
“Surveys have revealed that there is a frighteningly low use of protection by sexually active people especially between the ages of 15 and 24. There is a need to continue the promotion and education surrounding the benefits of condom use,” he said.
Mr Chileshe said the local authority was committed to fighting the pandemic and that Zambia needed to increase its efforts in preventing HIV and AIDS to stay in line with the global commitments to end AIDS by 2030.
According to the Expanded Church Response (ECR) the difference in infection rates between women and men has risen sharply, with 11.2 per cent of women and 7.3 per cent of men infected with HIV and AIDS.
The infection rate among women in urban areas in Zambia is at 10.8 per cent, and ECR indicates that the population is disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS with more girls between the ages of 15 to 19 years being affected as compared to boys.
“These statistics make sad reading, therefore, we need to take the theme, ‘Hands up for HIV prevention’ campaign to Schools and youth church programmes so that the young people who are the future leaders of this country are enlightened to make informed decisions that will translate in not having new infections,” Mr Chileshe said.
Mr Chileshe, who is also Local Government Association of Zambia (LGAZ) vice-president, called for support towards the association as it worked towards enhancing civic leaders’ contribution to the fight against HIV and AIDS.
“As mayors, in collaboration with LGAZ, we will make sure we fight and include the clause of five per cent Constituency Development Fund towards HIV and AIDS related activities in the new CDF guidelines,” he said.
Central Province deputy permanent secretary Felix Mangw’ato said the region had witnessed a reduction in the HIV prevalence rate which now stands at 12.5 per cent.
Mr Mangw’ato, however, urged all residents to join hands and eradicate the pandemic and assured that the Government would continue to support the fight.