A review of the HIV/AIDS situation in Zimbabwe

  • E. Gomo Blair Research Institute, Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, P O Box CY 573, Causeway, Harare.
  • S.K. Chandiwana Blair Research Institute, Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, P O Box CY 573, Causeway, Harare.


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections continue to spread at alarming rates, particularly in developing countries. The United Nations AIDS organization (UNAIDS) and World Health Organization (WHO) estimate that nearly 40 million people including adults (37.2 million) and children (2.7 million) worldwide were living with HIV by end of 2001, more than 70% of these in the developing world. Not surprisingly, the developing world accounts for over 95% of the estimated 3 million AIDS related deaths in 2001, largely among young adults who would normally be in their peak productive and reproductive years. Sub-Saharan Africa, the global epicenter of the pandemic, harbours over 70% of the people living with AIDS and accounts for nearly 80% of all AIDS-related deaths. It is estimated that almost 90% of all new infections in children under 15 years in 2001 occurred in Africa and that over 95% of all AIDS orphans are also in Africa. All this against the backdrop of a population that is only a tenth of the world's population. Southern African countries are the hardest hit in the world with respect to HIV/AIDS. In Zimbabwe, in particular, HIV sentinel surveillance through antenatal screening shows an increasing prevalence in both urban and rural areas. Zimbabwe, like other southern African countries, unfortunately harbours the virulent HIV-1 subtype C. This paper examines the current epidemiology of HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe and looks at the demographic, social, and economic impact of the disease. The Zimbabwe response to the epidemic is discussed in terms of AIDS and STD policy, information, education and communication, condom availability, mother to child transmission, care, support and research.

The Zimbabwe Science News Volume 35 (1+ 2) 2001, pp. 4-10

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eISSN: 1016-1503