Zimbabwe’s HIV/AIDS Programs Overlook Farm Communities, Advocates Say
Zimbabwean farm workers are not receiving adequate education, treatment or care from the country's HIV/AIDS programs, advocates in the country have said, PlusNews reports. According to PlusNews, many factors have increased farmers' vulnerability to the effects of the disease -- including a lack of affordable antiretroviral treatment, the historic exploitation of farmers, a series of droughts and a land redistribution program conducted in 2001. In addition, HIV prevention campaigns often do not reach farm workers, which has "allow[ed] myths about the disease to go unchallenged," PlusNews reports. In an effort to curb the spread of HIV among farmers, the General Agriculture and Plantations Workers Union of Zimbabwe has distributed no-cost condoms and has held workshops that encourage HIV testing. However, Gift Muti, deputy secretary-general of the GAPWUZ, said that the amount of unintended pregnancies and the rate of sexually transmitted infections "clearly show[s] that [farmers] are not using the condoms." The Zimbabwe Business Council on AIDS in collaboration with GAPWUZ is planning on conducting a survey to determine the impact of HIV/AIDS on commercial and communal farms (PlusNews, 10/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.