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HIV Rate in Zimbabwe Falling - But National AIDS Council Gets Scant Credit

Though Zimbabwe has continued to make progress in reducing the HIV prevalence rate or portion of the population exposed to the AIDS virus, officially 13.7% now compared with nearly 25% in 2003, the National AIDS Council has not gotten much credit.

Critics say too much of the money it raises from a national levy on wages has been spent on executive pay and vehicles, and not enough on programs to treat and prevent HIV/AIDS.

Though the unemployment rate in the country has been estimated at about 90%, Zimbabwe deducts 3% from the pay of those lucky enough to have official jobs to fund AIDS relief - though the amounts raised are small compared with those received from donors.

The National AIDS Council's critics say it hasn't had its priorities straight and as a result has failed many of those it should have helped obtain antiretroviral drug therapy.

The Council and the Ministry of Health respond that critics of the NAC do not have all of the facts on how the organization operates and what it has accomplished.

Reporter Sandra Nyaira of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported.

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