National AIDS Commission says self-accommodation for students in higher education institutions is a contributing factor in the rise of HIV prevalence rate among the youth in Malawi.
Public relations officer for NAC Karen said some tertiary students who are self-boarders especially females, indulge themselves in multiple and concurrent relationships as one way of getting supplements for their basic needs.
Msiska said this on Thursday at Mulanje Motel after a two day media workshop aimed orienting members of media on the current HIV and AIDS trends in Malawi as well as the National Strategic plan for HIV and AIDS that highlight 95:95:95 goal in as far as defeating HIV and AIDS is concerned.
He said initially, HIV was concentrated in tourism locations namely the Lakeshore districts but looking at the situation in the recent past the HIV prevalence is going a little bit inland.
“There are a number of factors leading up to the rise of HIV prevalence rate. Firstly, Blantyre for example, is a meeting zone for a number of people from surrounding districts who come to Blantyre looking for employment as well as do business. These people came from different behaviours or set ups where they might have been exposed to HIV and when they come to Blantyre they meet other people from different localities also bringing their own behaviours. And when they come together the risk of spreading the virus is higher.
“Secondly, and particularly about the issue of accommodation in tertiary education institutions. If you look at HIV and AIDS Strategy for Higher Education Institutions, you will find evidence that young ladies or adolescent girls and young women at tertiary level get themselves involved in a number of multiple and concurrent relationships. And these relationships are primarily with people that are far much older than themselves because the idea behind getting involved in those relationships is that they get money to supplement their needs while in those self-renting accommodation facilities,” said Msiska.
He added that the needs for a male and female students differ saying both can get the same amount of money from their parents or guardians but female students will want more money to supplement their needs therefore find themselves in multiple and concurrent relationships and the so called ‘ma blesser’.
In his presentation, the prevention and management officer for NAC Ellious Chasukwa said that since the so called ‘ma blesser’ have money and power, girls have no power to demand the use of condoms hence risking themselves to HIV.
He said female students make relationships with the blessers for sake of money and then make relationships with their age mate boys for love and in the process transmitting the virus.
Currently, Blantyre is leading the cities and districts that have high prevalence rate for HIV seconded by Lilongwe while Lilongwe is leading in terms of high incidence rate and is seconded by Blantyre.