The University of Zimbabwe students are to face restrictions on cross-gender visits after the university authorities vowed to limit male to female visit.
The new inter-residence visits restriction between male and female students mandate was announced after almost half of the students who underwent HIV testing, tested positive.
The staggering report came as a result of voluntary HIV testing that was carried out at Zimbabwe’s oldest tertiary institution, with 47% of the students testing positive for the virus.
The UZ Vice Chancellor Levi Nyagura who confirmed the result, vowed to see that all possible contact between male and female students are limited no matter the amount of criticism against his management style.
He further advised young men and women against promiscuity and pre-marital sex.
“The grim statistics of sexually transmitted diseases at the institution have forced us to have a limit for inter-residence visits between female and male students. We have consulted lots of parents and all of them do not want to promote promiscuity by allowing students to enjoy married lifestyles by staying with their girlfriends in the halls of residence”
The development came after recent claims that students at Zimbabwe’s Midlands State University (MSU) had demonstrated careless sexual behaviour, pushing up the prevalence of HIV at the institution.
According to The Herald, Mambewu Shumba, Provincial Co-ordinator for National Aids Council Midlands, castigated the reported aggressive sexual behavior of MSU students, claiming that they were a major contributor of an increase in HIV prevalence in the Gweru area of the country.
Zimbabwe has the fifth highest HIV prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa at 15%. 1.4 million people are living with HIV including 170,000 children, equating to 4% of the global total.
The number of newly infected people fell to 34% between 2005 and 2013, with behavior change communication and high treatment coverage thought to be responsible for this reduction. But in 2013, there were still 69,000 new infections.
In the same year, 64,000 deaths were said to have emerged from AIDS-related illnesses, a 57% reduction since 2005. 890,000 children are orphaned due to AIDS.
The Zimbabwean HIV epidemic is vastly caused by unprotected heterosexual sex though there are increase epidemics among key populations who are at higher risk of HIV.
Also, Homosexual acts are not in compliance to Zimbabwe constitution, it is illegal for women who have sex with women. This has caused the number of infected people to surge upwards, but no national statistics are available for the number of MSM who are living with HIV, as a result of the punitive law.