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New HIV Infections Worry Activists and Officials in Zimbabwe

  • Irwin  Chifera

Zimbabwe's adult HIV prevalence rate is continuing its downward trend and stands currently around 13 percent but estimates show that at least 200 people are contracting the deadly virus daily in the country.

Most of the affected, according to health experts, are in the 15 to 49 age group.

Speaking at an HIV/Aids symposium in Harare Monday, UNAIDS Country Co-ordinator in Zimbabwe, Michael Bartos, said most of the people being infected daily are young women whom he says may be having sex with older men due to economic reasons.

Chief executive Dr. Tapuwa Magure of the National Aids Council said Zimbabwe is making efforts to achieve zero new infections, zero deaths and zero discriminations despite the new daily infections.

"If you look at those figures, we feel they are going down everyday as we aim to eradicate HIV and Aids from our communities," said Dr. Magure.

Previously 400 people were being infected with the virus every day, according to health experts.

Dr. Magure said the HIV situation in the country has improved tremendously since 2004 when the country adopted its national anti-retroviral therapy program.

He said since 2004 the number of people accessing life-saving drugs under the anti-retroviral therapy program, has increased from 5,000 to more than 600,000.

Dr. Magure said the National Aids Council spends 60 percent of the AIDS levy on the life-saving drugs. The Global Fund and foreign governments also help in paying for the drugs, he said.

An estimated 1.3 million people live with HIV/Aids in Zimbabwe and more than half of them are women.

The two-day symposium, organized by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, is discussing the promotion of human rights in healthcare and access to treatment, among other issues.
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