National AIDS Council in partnership with the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Recreation have hosted an HIV/AIDS sports gala in Chimanimani as part of efforts to arrest the increase in new HIV/AIDS infections in the district.

With the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate standing at 9.3 percent in Chimanimani district and the new infections being on the increase, awareness campaigns remain critical.

The need to reduce new HIV/AIDS infections and prevalence rate saw the National AIDS Council convening a sports gala attracting more than 30 netball and soccer teams with awareness campaigns on the need for responsible behaviour in the fight against the AIDS pandemic being the main objective.

Chimanimani West legislator, Cde Nokuthula Matsikenyeri hailed the organisers of the event for including cervical cancer screening, STI screening, diabetes and high blood pressure testing, male circumcision, TB screening, HIV testing and counseling and family planning services at the sports gala saying such initiatives can help improve life expectance in the district.

“There is need for the community to take advantage of services being offered here in order to take full responsibility of our health,” said Cde Matsikenyeri.

Chimanimani National AIDS Council district AIDS coordinator, Samuel Sithole said the initiative is being done to further reduce AIDS prevalence rate that is on the increase due to rampant commercial sex workers’ activities while district sports and recreation officer Abinel Mataga said apart from campaigns on HIV/AIDS the event helps in identifying sporting talent.

“Increased commercial sex worker activities are increasing HIV/AIDS prevalence rate hence the need for campaigns to arrest the negative trend,” he said.

Meanwhile, Honourable Matsikenyeri was tested for HIV and AIDS as a way of motivating other residents and villagers to get tested and know their status.