Behavioral change by Zimbabwean men has helped lower the HIV prevalence rate – the percentage of adults infected with the AIDS virus – from 16 percent in 2007 to 13 percent in 2009, the National Aids Council said.
Mortality from Aids continues to be a factor in the declining prevalence rate, but experts say awareness campaigns have convinced many Zimbabwean men to make changes in their lives to avoid infection. For instance, some have gone for circumcision, which significantly reduces the risk of infection with HIV.
Condom use has also help lower the prevalence rate – the National Aids Council says commercial sex workers in Zimbabwe have become the most important consumers of condoms.
National Aids Council Executive Director Tapuwa Magure told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira that the organization has been very pleased to see the prevalence rate decline further, adding that with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS releasing $21 million more for programs to fight the disease, the rate should continue to fall.
Elsewhere, scientists fighting aids have called on African leaders to head a month-long sexual abstinence campaign to reduce new infections. Epidemiologists Alan Whiteside and Justin Parkhurst note that the newly infected are most likely to transmit HIV in the month following exposure, so such a time-out could significantly reduce infections.