HIV Prevalence in Zimbabwe Decreases to 15.6%, Health Official Says
November 2, 2007
HIV prevalence in Zimbabwe during the past four years has decreased from 18.1% to 15.6%, Owen Mugurungi, head of the AIDS and TB unit at the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, said on Wednesday when announcing national HIV/AIDS estimates for 2007, the Herald/AllAfrica.com reports (Chipunza, Herald/AllAfrica.com, 11/1).
The 2007 estimates were compiled using data from prenatal clinics at 19 sites in the country, the Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey 2005-2006, the national census, testing and counseling data, and the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission Program, the Herald/AllAfrica.com reports (Herald/AllAfrica.com, 11/1).
According to the AP/International Herald Tribune, some analysts were "skeptical" of the figures because of the "lack of medical care" in the country. In addition, although Zimbabwe said its estimates were verified by the United Nations, UNAIDS disagreed. "It looks like they've used the methodology that we recommended," UNAIDS spokesperson Sophie Barton-Knott said, adding that "however, as we haven't received this data officially, we cannot validate it."
UNICEF said the decline in prevalence is "one of the most significant and rapid declines of any country in the world." The organization added that "mortality also played a hand in the drop." Other analysts said that they doubt the estimates because of the problems with Zimbabwe's economy and infrastructure, lack of access to health care and the difficulty of using statistics when as much as one-third of the population has left the country. "I think with the current state of affairs in Zimbabwe, one would be kind of skeptical about statistics, which could also be caused by an undercount, by mass migration," David Bourne of the University of Cape Town said (AP/International Herald Tribune, 11/1).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.