Women in Mutoko say they are worried over the refusal by their husbands to go for HIV/AIDS testing and counselling, which has put their lives at risk.
Some women who spoke to 263Chat at Nyamuzuva Rural Hospital last week revealed that most men rely on the results of women to know of their statuses.
“There are some men who are refusing to get tested and it is becoming a thorn in the flesh for us, we don’t know what to do to have this rectified, they totally refuse and choose to stay at home,
“When we try to ask them they refuse stating that once I have been tested negative the same applies for him, Its really stressing because we are pressurized to come with our husbands at the hospitals, so sometimes we let it go and give birth without having to be tested with them,” said one of the women.
Another young woman added that the man gives lousy excuses to avoid getting tested as a couple.
“When we try to convince them to get tested as a couple they give us lousy excuses like being busy with work and not finding time to go the clinic, this becomes really stressing for us resulting in high blood pressure too,” she explained.
A registered midwife at the hospital, Winifildah Tickey confirmed that most of the men in the area refuse to get tested using work as an excuse.
However, the hospital introduced 24/7 HIV/AIDS testing to make sure couple testing is done.
“We face many challenges here and one of them is that most men refuse to get tested with their wives when they come to register their pregnancies, most of them give excuses of being busy with work so as a hospital introduced HIV testing for 24 hours a day and 7 days a week so they can come at any time of the day,
“Since the introduction of this 24-hour service the number of men that come to get tested in now better than before, we really emphasize that couples come and get tested together because we sometimes receive quite a high number of discordant couples where one could be positive and the other negative,” said Tickey.
It is estimated that 75% of people living with HIV in 2016 knew their status.
However, there is a large discrepancy between men and women, with 76% of women and girls living with HIV aware of their status, compared to 68% of positive men and boys.
The Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey 2015 (ZDHS 2015) shows an increase in testing, with 49% of women reporting being tested in the last 12 months compared to 34% in 2011. Among men, this increased from 21% in 2011 to 36% in 2015.