BY SILAS NKALA
SIXTY-NINE people succumbed to HIV related complications in Matabeleland South in February amid claims that some people are defaulting on antiretroviral treatment (ART) due to hunger.
The revelations were made by Matabeleland South provincial maternal, neonatal and child health officer Norbert Singine following an inquiry by the Sunday Southern Eye.
Singine said the province had recorded 5 789 new HIV positive cases since 2021, and 5 748 were put on ART.
“In February, we had 69 deaths and 256 could not be accounted for (whereabouts unknown).
“Currently we have 97 595 people with HIV who are on ART. We do not have reports of defaulters due to lack of food or death,” Singine said.
“However, there has been some anecdotal information during Zimbabwe National Network of People with HIV meetings from people with HIV saying that some of their members do default treatment due to lack of food.
“We still haven’t received any formal statistics/ proof to verify.”
Latest reports indicate that Matabeleland South continues to top the list of areas hard hit by HIV and Aids prevalence rate in the country at 17,1 despite the percentage down from 21.9% in April last year.
The province is followed by Matabeleland North with 14,5% and Bulawayo at 13,7%.
Mashonaland Central has the lowest prevalence rate at 0,2% followed by Manicaland with 10,2 % prevalence.