AT least 80,000 girls between the ages of 15 and 24 are currently living with HIV while 36,000 males of the same age are also living with the virus, a senior official with National Aids Council (NAC) has said.

Tapuwa Magure, NAC chief operations officer, told Parliament’s HIV/AIDS Thematic Committee Monday that his organisation was worried with the rate at which young girls were being infected.

Magure blamed this on poverty and social challenges the country is currently experiencing.

He said new infections in young people aged between 15 and 24 were going-up, especially among young girls.

“There is a big problem there which needs to be urgently addressed,” he said.

“Because of social challenges, if you go to colleges and universities you see these big cars, the issue of sugar daddies and poverty,” he added.

Magure told the parliamentarians that most educational facilities have no clinics or were poorly manned to provide anti-retroviral therapy (ART).

However, at least 400 focal persons working at various educational institutions have been trained to assist students with knowledge on HIV.

Also, according to Magure, the University of Zimbabwe has been given the green light to initiate and supply ART while MSU has been accredited as a follow-up site.

Magure also lamented that the number of infected people was relatively going up at a time the government was struggling to fund such life-saving initiatives.

“The Global Fund provides treatment to 500,000 people, and the United States to about 160,000 while government provides to almost the same number; it’s not good but what is more worrying is the Aids Levy base which is shrinking.

“We expected to receive $18 million by June but we have received $15 million. Domestic funding is deteriorating,” he said.

Official statistics released last year indicated that the number of people on treatment was just above 600,000 against an estimated 1 207 105 HIV positive people.

According to the data, approximately 140,000 people’s treatment was funded by local resources while the remainder were supported by external resources.

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