Miners of the rare tanzanite gemstones at Mererani mine in Tanzania's Simanjiro District say they are being overlooked by HIV/AIDS education campaigns.
According to the local Arusha Times newspaper, anti-AIDS organisations were being urged to extend these services to thousands of miners, who are at a higher than usual risk of HIV infection.
One miner, Lawrence Loti, commented that after a rewarding dig most workers consumed alcohol to excess and engaged in risky sexual behaviour. "Here, when a miner gets a piece of tanzanite, he becomes bewildered, since most struggle for more than three months without getting anything."
Citing official figures, Tanzanian Prime Minister Edward Lowassa recently said Mererani had an HIV prevalence rate of 16.4 percent, compared to the estimated national average of seven percent of all adults.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions