Tourism ’causes’ AIDS in Livingstone

That maybe true about AIDS, tourism and Livingstone, but getting or renewing a passport in Zambia is a nightmare. As this picture taken Tuesday at 07 hours at the Lusaka passport office shows, people start lining up as early as this

That maybe true about AIDS, tourism and Livingstone, but getting or renewing a passport in Zambia is a nightmare. As this picture taken Tuesday at 07 hours at the Lusaka passport office shows, people start lining up as early as this

Southern Province Minister Daniel Munkombwe has said the status of Livingstone as the tourist capital of the nation makes it a high-risk area for HIV transmission.

Mr. Munkombwe attributed this development to tourism and other economic activities such as cross border trade, fish mongering and subsistence farming in rural communities.

Mr. Munkombwe said this during the commemoration of the National Voluntary and Counseling Day (VCT) at Mukuni Park in LivingstonTuesday which was celebrated under the them; “Family first: Men take your families for Counseling and Testing.”

He bemoaned the high prevalence rate of HIV in Livingstone which he said is now at 30.6 indicating a slight reduction from the initial 31 percent.

Mr. Munkombwe challenged all stakeholders to take a leading role in the response to HIV and AIDS since many people did not know their status resulting in new infections taking place on a daily basis.

He encouraged people to go for VCT services as doing so would equip them with the knowledge to either protect them from infection or to live positively with HIV and get access to treatment when necessary.

The Provincial Minister said VCT day was an important day for the country as it continued to play an important role in helping government work towards achieving universal access to HIV treatment, care and support by the year 2010.

Mr. Munkombwe said it was commendable for government through President Rupiah Banda’s leadership to exhibit positive political will in the response to HIV and AIDS.

And speaking earlier, District Director of Health Dr Kenneth Chibwe said HIV and AIDS was not a thing to be proud of as it had destroyed people’s lives and careers adding that this had resulted in reduced productivity and high poverty levels.

Dr. Chibwe called on men to take a leading role in fighting HIV since statistics indicated that more women were accessing VCT services than men despite them heading up households.

He urged people to use weapons such as abstinence, condoms, positive behavioral change, and mutual faithfulness to one partner, in the fight against HIV.

Dr. Chibwe said the fight against the deadly pandemic could be won if all stakeholders involved in the fight could remain unified in their intentions and purpose.

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