Sexual abuse has been singled out as one of the major factors contributing to high transmission of HIV in different working places, including estates, across the country.
This was disclosed during commemoration of World AIDS Day (WAD) at Mulambala Primary School Ground in Thyolo held under the theme “End Inequalities, End AIDS, End Pandemics.”
National AIDS Commission (NAC) jointly organised the event with Estates in the district.
In an interview with Malawi News Agency (MANA), NAC Head of Coordination and Capacity Building, Tione Chilambe, said a lot of people in Thyolo and Mulanje work in Tea Estates where issues of sexual abuse are high.
“Reports indicate that trading sex for favours is one of the factors contributing to high transmission of HIV and AIDS in different work places and as such we have engaged estates in order to curb the vice,” she said.
In his remarks, Industrial Relations Secretary for Tea Association of Malawi, Flemmings Mwenibabu, said it is unfortunate to note that sex for work is still rampant in the estates saying there are policies that protect workers from any sexual harassment such as HIV and AIDS at Work Place Policy as well as Gender Policy.
On his part, Chairperson for Thyolo District Council, Cresco Likwezembe, said the Council will continue to work tirelessly with different stakeholders as a means to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS by engaging stakeholders such as the estate representative, organizations as well as chiefs and other stakeholders to remind their people ways of preventing the deadly disease.
Currently, Thyolo has 66, 500 people living with HIV and AIDS representing 12.8 per cent while Mulanje has 60, 800 representing 13.4 per cent.
Reported by Stewart Majiga