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HIV/AIDS Impact On Zimbabwe Population Growth Less Than Expected

A study of population growth in Zimbabwe during the still-severe HIV/AIDS pandemic found that the disease reduced the country's rate of population growth less than many experts had feared, the Imperial College in London announced on Tuesday.

Conducted by the institution in Manicaland between 1998 and 2005 in partnership with Harare’s Biomedical Research and Training Institute, the study report said that although some areas have seen a two-thirds decline in population due to HIV/AIDS, Zimbabwe's population as a whole is still growing at a rate of some 1% a year.

It is the first study to look at the demographic impact of HIV in Zimbabwe.

The study's authors say their findings contradict predictions made by epidemiologists at a 1989 World Health Organization meeting based on models that predicted a clear decline in population as deaths increased by AIDS outpaced births.

Lead author Dr. Simon Gregson, a reader in demography and behavioral sciences at Imperial College, told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the study will help in planning future responses to the pandemic.

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