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UN Report: Zimbabwe New HIV Infection Rate at 3%

  • Tatenda Gumbo

A doctor draws blood to check for HIV/AIDS at a mobile testing unit in a suburb of Uganda’s capital, Kampala, May 16, 2014.

A doctor draws blood to check for HIV/AIDS at a mobile testing unit in a suburb of Uganda’s capital, Kampala, May 16, 2014.

Zimbabwe is among some countries in the world making giant strides in reducing HIV prevalence and Aids deaths.

According to a latest report of the United Nations, known as GAP Report, released ahead of Sunday's annual aids conference, Zimbabwe accounted for 3% of all new HIV infections globally in 2013.

The figure decreased 34 percent between 2005 to last year.

The country is in the same ranks with Zambia and Tanzania, which also reported low new infection rates.

Zimbabwe also accounted for 4% of all AIDS-related deaths globally in 2013, down 57 percent from 2005.

The country has attributed its progressive HIV/AIDS response to its capacity to mobilize and sustain domestic resources through its aids levy, while also sustaining universal coverage of treatment to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

Women and AIDS Support Network communications manager, Evince Mugumbate said Zimbabwe should celebrate its global successes on fighting HIV/AIDS.

"Through working with the Ministry of Health and the National AIDS Council, and as teams we must applaud ourselves that at least our programs are being heard by the people concerned and that's why we have reached that low percentage," said Mugumbate.

Last year, Zimbabwe launched a five year initiative - Families and Communities for the Elimination of Pediatric HIV in Zimbabwe (FACE) - with the objective to reduce the rate of mother-to-child HIV transmission from 14 percent to less than 5 percent by 2015 and to provide 90 percent of HIV positive pregnant women with life-saving anti-retroviral drugs.

Mugumbate said programs such as those have assisted on the prevalence of new infections in infants, while also assisting in lowering percentages among young people and women.

The UNAIDS report shows that 19 million of the 35 million people living with HIV today do not know that they have the virus.

According to the GAP report, as people find out their HIV-positive status they will seek life-saving treatment.

The report indicates that in sub-Saharan Africa, almost 90% of people who tested positive for HIV went on to access antiretroviral therapy (ART).

It shows that in sub-Saharan Africa, 76% of people on ART have achieved viral suppression, whereby they are unlikely to transmit the virus to their sexual partners.

GAP adds that new data analysis demonstrates that for every 10% increase in treatment coverage, there is a 1% decline in the percentage of new infections among people living with HIV.

Director of the AIDS and ART Foundation, Emmanuel Gasa, said though Zimbabwe has made these giant strides, it is not time to relax on the global fight against HIV/AIDS.

He said Zimbabwean children are still facing issues of accessing ART and at times face challenges like marginalization when getting such drugs.

Gasa urged the government to focus, among many issues, on the problem of pediatric anti-retroviral therapy, and those missing out on assistances in displaced communities.

In Zimbabwe at least 1.2 million people are living with HIV. The report reveals that just 15 countries account for more than 75% of the 2.1 million new HIV infections that occurred in 2013.

In sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda account for 48% of all new HIV infections.

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