New strategies are needed to stop the rising cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that have been recorded across the country.
Though Zimbabwe boasts a National HIV and Aids Strategy Plan (2011-15) that aims for zero new infections, a sharp rise in STIs has been noted in Harare, Masvingo, Gweru, Gokwe and other areas.
This development, which threatens to erode gains that have been made since the late 90s, should be a wake-up call to policy planners that not everyone has heeded their calls for safe sex.
STIs such as syphilis, gonorrhea, genital herpes, warts, and chancroid are transmitted through unprotected sexual activities, indicating that a sizeable number of people are not using condoms when they indulge in sex.
When this happens, it may be a question of time before Zimbabwe again records an increase in people contracting HIV.
Such a retrogressive development would deal a blow to all the progress made in the past 15 years, when the country managed to reduce the transmission of the virus that causes Aids and gained praise internationally.
New interventions are therefore urgently needed to stop this trend because preventing STIs is crucial in the broader fight against HIV and Aids.
Campaigns that promote safe sex that had become dormant due to lack of funding need to be revived. We want to hear about these messages in our homes, communities, churches and mining areas and bars where commercial sex work takes place. Condoms should be freely available at colleges and mining areas, the new epi centres of transmission.
There is also need for a strategy to deal with the management of sexual infections which can affect women without being noticed.
The youth and everyone else who is sexually active should be constantly reminded they are at risk and should be conscious of the need to seek treatment when they contract STIs. Such a concerted campaign would ultimately lead to a reduction in the incidences of STIs and HIV.
We hope the coming in of a new Minister of Health can bring fresh ideas over how these and other problems confronting the health sector can be solved.