Zimbabwe's AIDS-Related Death Figures Plunge

Chris Gande

WASHINGTON DC — The number of Zimbabweans dying from AIDS-related deaths per year has significantly dropped from a high of 170,000 in 2003 down to 60,000 last year, according to a preliminary report of the 2013 HIV estimates presented to various governmental and non-governmental organizations.

According to the state controlled The Herald newspaper on Tuesday, Ministry of Health and Child Care strategic information co-ordinator for the AIDS and and TB Unit, Dr. Mutsa Mhangara, told a workshop in Harare that the number of people getting infected continues to drop from 1.18 percent in 2012 to 1.05 percent in 2013.

Mhangara said the number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the country is stabilizing and infected individuals are surviving longer.

“These figures are an indication that we are on track in achieving some of our HIV targets even though they still have to undergo validation,” said Dr. Mhangara.

However, she expressed concern over the rising number of people infected with sexually transmitted diseases, saying this threatens the gains the country has made so far in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

Zimbabwe’s HIV/AIDS policy has been hailed throughout the world as a good model. The country was among the first to levy its workers to fund HIV and AIDS interventions.

The recent decline in the number of infections has also been attributed to the high number of those living with HIV adhering to their ARV regimen.

Obert Banda, who lives with HIV and is an HIV/AIDS activist, said there has also been a significant improvement in accessing free ARVs.

“There is a significant improvement in the supply and distribution of ARVs and many people are now coming into the open which might be one of the reasons the death rate of HIV-related deaths is going down,” he said.