Zim records decline in AIDS deaths, new infections—UN report

A new United Nations global report shows that Zimbabwe has made big strides in reducing new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths, even though it still suffers a high burden of the epidemic.

Health and Child Care Minister, David Parirenyatwa
Health and Child Care Minister, David Parirenyatwa

The report, Beginning of the End of the AIDs Epidemic, has been released ahead of the International AIDS conference that will be held in Melbourne, Australia, on July 21.

The Health and Child Care Minister, David Parirenyatwa, is expected to chair a satellite session at the conference, to highlight the progress Zimbabwe has made in fighting mother-to-child HIV transmission.

Even though the country accounted for 3 percent of all new HIV infections globally in 2013, there was a 34 percent decline in fresh cases between 2005 and last year, according to the report.

During the same period, AIDS-related deaths declined by 57 percent, but Zimbabwe contributed 4 percent of global deaths in 2013.

The country also recorded progress in boosting access to anti-retroviral treatment (ART), contributing 5 percent of the worldwide total of people on new treatment between 2010 and 2013.

Zimbabwe, though, is one of the 15 countries that account for 75 percent of new HIV infections across the world.

New HIV infections in children declined by at least 50 percent in Zimbabwe and seven other African countries, namely Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa.

On the downside, Zimbabwe is one of the 10 African countries in Africa that account 81 percent of all people living with HIV.

The other countries are Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia.

Half of the people living with HIV in this group are in Nigeria and South Africa while Zimbabwe accounts for 6 percent, says the report.

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