Luapula Province Permanent Secretary Jazzman Chikwakwa has bemoaned the increased levels of the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the province.
Mr. Chikwakwa attributed this development to some factors such as mobility and labour migration, alcohol and drug abuse among youths.
“Adding to this is the vertical transmission from mother to child, low use of condoms, and multiple concurrent partnership, “ the Permanent Secretary said.
Mr. Chikwakwa was speaking when he addressed hundreds of people who turned up for the commemoration of the World AIDS Day at Kaole Stadium in Mansa yesterday.
He also said the low male-circumcision (MC ) recorded in the province was also another major factor increasing the HIV/AIDS prevalence levels in the province and Zambia, in general.
In Luapula Province, only a paltry 10 percent of the male population has gone for MC. To counter this , the Permanent Secretary has health authorities in the area to intensify sensitization on the importance of MCs.
The Zambia Health Demographic Survey 2002 and 2007, says Luapula has recorded a two (2) percent rise in the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate.
From the survey, Mansa District leads the prevalence rate with 11.6 percent, seconded by the fishing districts of Nchelenge, and Samfya at 9.8 percent and 9.7 percent respectively.
Kawambwa, Mwense, and Milenge districts have the same prevalence rate of 8.2 percent.
Mr. Chikwakwa said the HIV prevalence rate among adults in the productive age group of 15 to 45 years in the area was now estimated at 13.2 percent from the 11.5 percent in 2007.
He said Luapula Province has more men infected with HIV than women, the scenario he said contrasts the national situation where more women are infected than men.
And a representative from the National AIDS Council (NAC), Gevar Nsanzya, a board member of NAC, commended the government for its involvement in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Mr. Nsanzya said with a prevalence rate of 14 .3 percent and over 283, 863 adults and children Anti-retroviral (ARV) at the end of December, 2009, it is evident Zambia has made progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
He however said 80 percent of the population still do not know their HIV status.
He said this shows that there is need for more sensitization in the communities on the importance of accessing prevention, treatment, care, and support services.