Back to Index
STIs hit university students nationwide
Mbanje, The Standard (Zimbabwe)
November 03, 2013
Incidences of sexually
transmitted infections (STIs) are rife among students at various
universities and tertiary institutions around the country, an investigation
by The Standard has revealed.
The situation has been
exacerbated by the fact that government has not been able to offer
student grants for several years.
Students and staff at
various institutions who spoke to The Standard last week confirmed
that their colleagues were engaging in sexual activities to earn
a living with the majority of them not using any form of protection.
They said most parents
cannot pay the fees which range from US$600 to US$900 per semester,
driving students to engage in unsafe sexual escapades in exchange
Some students at Harare
Polytechnic last week called on the government to re-introduce payouts
to alleviate poverty among students.
“Our fees are US$296,
depending on the programme but there is an additional fee for accommodation
which is almost US$200. We only have meat in the evening, but our
lunch is either badly cooked cabbages or beans. Breakfast is not
appealing either and that is why some of our mates are running around
with these sugar daddies because they offer alternatives,”
said a female student from the business department.
Another female student,
who only identified herself as Chelsea, said it was sad that some
students were risking their future for a US$3 meal at food outlets
“For some students,
they would rather sleep with an older guy without protection so
that their daily needs are met,” she said.
a University of
Zimbabwe student, also urged the government to give grants to
students from poor backgrounds to discourage them from embarking
on risk behaviour.
“My sisters are
really into prostitution. It is no longer an eye brow-raising issue
because most of them are doing it. Some genuinely need the money
for fees, but there are those who just want to have fun, want the
good things in life,” he said. “My mates [males] are
also engaging in this business, but for most it’s for fun
and experience. They hire commercial sex workers but the danger
lies in the fact that many will be drunk and may not always use
of Finance Tendai Biti allocated US$64 million for the nine state
universities, eight polytechnics, 13 primary school teacher training
and four secondary teacher training colleges in the 2013
However, by May this
year, only US$750 000 had been released. Of the 54 735 students
who qualified to receive tuition support in this academic year,
only 10 000 had their fees paid.
Giving evidence before
a parliamentary committee, Director for University Education in
the ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education Martha Muguti, said
the lack of funding had been “devastating” to the quality
A Chinhoyi University
of Technology a nurse, who declined to be named, said STIs topped
the list of diseases they treat at the institution.
that we treat have an STI of some sort. I cannot give you figures,
but I assure you it is not good,” she said. What was peculiar,
she said, was that most of the cases were repeat infections, which
meant the same people were constantly being re-infected.
“Such a total disregard
for life for people so young is heart-breaking,” she said.
At least 10 000 people
in Masvingo province had contracted STIs within three months this
year, and there were strong suggestions that students at tertiary
institutions in the resort town accounted for a higher percentage
of the patients.
Aids Council (NAC) Masvingo provincial Aids coordinator, Evos
Makoni said a study would be carried out at the health institutions
and clinics located in the vicinity of universities and colleges.
There are reports that
Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) students residing at Mashava campus
are engaging in sexual activities with local gold panners in the
Rungano Zvobgo said they would erect a perimeter fence around the
Mashava campus hostels to shield students from opportunists.
A female student from
Midlands State University (MSU) said shortage of accommodation at
the institution forced many students to engage in unsafe sexual
behaviour to raise money for rentals.
With an enrollment of
over 17 000 students, MSU cannot accommodate half of its students.
Landlords in Gweru are
capitalising on the hapless students whom they charge an average
of US$70 per head per month.
can squat in one room with each paying around US$70-US$80 per month.
Besides the rent, there are issues of food and day-to-day expenses
which many of us cannot afford,” one student said. A 2011
study carried out by representatives from Bindura University of
Science Education (Buse) revealed that of the sampled group of respondents,
96% were sexually active and of this 60-65% had more than one partner.
The majority of the sampled
group also believed students were at risk of contracting HIV and
An equally large portion
of them also said female students were going out with sugar daddies
for fun and financial gain.
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.