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Drug and substance abuse hindering fight against HIV/Aids

Story by Grace Sibanda

THE scourge of drug and substance abuse has become a thorn in the flesh in the fight against HIV and AIDS, as users are devising new ways of administering drugs into their system.

The continued use of drugs and substance abuse especially among adolescents, is reversing the strides that have been made by the country in tackling HIV and AIDS.

This comes amid revelations that a new phenomenon known as hotspotting or bluetoothing is rocking the streets of Zimbabwe as drug users are finding innovative ways of administering drugs into their bodies.

“Young people are finding new ways to administer drugs in their bodies. The latest one is injecting untested blood of a career that is high on drugs into their own system. Some go to the extent of sharing the same needle, hence while we are fighting drug abuse, we are now faced with the fight against drug and substance abuse as well,” said Dr Loveness Ndebele a psychiatrist.

Tendai Daka from Mubatirwapamwe says although injecting ones drug infused blood into another drug user is a fairly new phenomenon, it has become popular among people with limited means, looking for a quick fix.

“This method of hotspotting is most common amongst young people who do not have money to buy drugs hence they take from their friends. We recently had an instance where a parent found her young child having over dosed on a sachet of blood, the blood was smelly. After checking the contents of the packet, it confirmed our worst fear that young people have started on this phenomenon which has been borrowed from South Africa. This is indeed reversing the gains that the country had made in the fight against HIV and AIDS.”

Most drug users have little or no regard for the safety of needles they use hence the ways of administering drugs are a threat to the country`s fight against HIV and AIDS.

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