HIV prevalence declines in Zimbabwe

Adult HIV prevalence in Zimbabwe since 2004 has fallen from 20.1% to 18.1%, Minister of Health and Child Welfare David Parirenyatwa said, citing the Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey of 2005-2006, Reuters AlertNet reports (Reuters AlertNet, 9/7).

Speaking last Wednesday in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare, Parirenyatwa said the government is pleased with the decline, even though HIV prevalence in the country is still high.

According to the survey, 97.9% of women and 99.2% of men said they had heard of HIV, and most of them knew it could be prevented.

The survey also finds that condom use among women has increased from 42% in 1999 to 45.7% currently, and for men it had increased from 70.2% to 71.2%.

In addition, condom use among noncohabiting partners has increased between 1999 and 2005-2006, Parirenyatwa said. The decision about whether to use condoms continues to be left mostly to men, Parirenyatwa said, calling for the issue of women’s empowerment to be addressed.

The survey also finds that girls are waiting later to become sexually active, which also has contributed to the decrease in HIV prevalence.

In addition, programs implemented by the government and its partners appeared to be effective, according to Zimbabwe’s Herald.

“Everyone is involved, and this seems to be working,” Parirenyatwa said, adding, “There are no splinter groups working on AIDS, for even the nongovernmental organizations work as a team with us.”

The Health and Child Welfare Ministry worked with the National Family Planning Council, National AIDS Council, U.N. Population Fund, U.N. Development Program, UNICEF, CDC, USAID and the U.K. Department for International Development to conduct the survey (Herald, 9/7).

The survey on Thursday was not immediately available, according to Reuters AlertNet (Reuters AlertNet, 9/7).

Provided by ArmMed Media
Revision date: July 7, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD