HIV/AIDS activists in Mashonaland West have fingered police in drug running that they claim has increased incidents of sexual immorality in Kadoma in particular.
The activists spoke on condition they were not identified during a workshop on adolescent and paediatric antiretroviral treatment (ART) hosted by the Zimbabwe National Network of People Living with AIDS (ZNNP+).
“The police are raiding drug cartels in Kadoma and in the surrounding areas to create an artificial shortage.
“They target mainly those selling Histulix (broncol). Prices will then shoot up before the spouses of the same officers are given the raided loot to bring it back onto the market,” said a National Aids Council official.
Another activist said police then turn a blind eye when their clients, mainly youths, openly take the drugs.
“These youths are not arrested because the police would have sold them the drugs or their conduits mainly their wives or spouses.
“Our main worry, though, is that after taking the drugs the youths engage in sex orgies mainly unprotected and this has led to a spike in HIV infections.
“Although we do not have hard evidence of the police involvement in all the community meetings we have held this has come up and we have communicated it to the authorities but it seems very little is being done.
“We are being ignored suggesting this is true,” he said.
Provincial police spokesperson Clemence Mabweazara was not available for comment as he was reportedly in Harare for the Agricultural Show.
With massive illegal mining activities rife in Kadoma and the surrounding areas, the activists said police have also been found wanting as drugs are also openly sold in these makeshift camps.
“Police also lack capacity because sometimes they do not have transport to raid such areas or they are terrified of possible violent confrontation with these illegal miners,” the meeting heard.
Statistics from ZNNP+ show that just about 40% of infants or children born infected with the HIV virus are initiated onto ART putting a damper on government efforts to fight the pandemic despite gains in relation to adults.