Tanzanian youth leading in new HIV infections: minister

Source: Xinhua| 2019-12-02 00:07:52|Editor: yan
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DAR ES SALAAM, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- A Tanzanian government cabinet minister said on Sunday the youth, especially girls, were leading with new HIV infections in the east African nation.

Addressing a public rally to mark World AIDS Day on the Lake Victoria shore city of Mwanza, Jenista Mhagama, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office responsible for Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled, said the latest survey showed that 72,000 of new HIV infections were the youth aged between 15 and 24 years old.

She said the Tanzania HIV Impact Survey for 2016/2017 showed that 80 percent of the 72,000 new infections were girls and 20 percent were boys.

"The survey attributes unprotected sex among the youth as the main reason behind the increase in new infections," the minister said in her address broadcast live by state-run Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation.

Mhagama said the government in collaboration with stakeholders in the fight against HIV/AIDS was working hard to stop the tidal wave of new infections.

She appealed to people infected with the virus to continue taking anti-retroviral HIV drugs that help prevent HIV from replicating.

On Nov. 12, Tanzanian parliament passed amendments designed to allow HIV/AIDS self-testing and lowering the age of HIV testing without parental consent to 15 years old.

Tanzania has about 1.4 million people affected by HIV and the government wants 90-percent of the country's population to know their status, whereas currently it is only 62 percent who know their status.