HIV Rates on Decline in Zimbabwe, UN Agency Says
October 12, 2005
On Tuesday, UNAIDS announced that HIV infection rates in Zimbabwe have fallen to around 20 percent, down from 25 percent five years ago. But the agency warned that the country, with a population of about 12.5 million, still has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world, and infection rates could start to rise again.
Experts attribute the drop in infection rates to fewer sex partners and an increase in condom use with non-regular partners. In a statement posted on its Web site, www.unaids.org, the agency said the challenge is to ensure that the downward trend in infections is sustained. UNAIDS' preliminary review of epidemiological and behavioral data will be officially published in December after final data are incorporated.
Health Minister David Parirenyatwa said surveys have shown a decline in casual sexual encounters and a drop in STDs. He told a local newspaper that girls are starting to delay the onset of sexual activity and that people now know the importance of preventing HIV.
UNAIDS said Zimbabwe's HIV prevalence rate among pregnant women declined to 21.3 percent last year from 24.6 percent in 2002.
10.11.05; Stephanie Nebehay
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.