THE National AIDS Council (Nac) has decried the gender disparity in the HIV burden whereby the national prevalence is at 11,1%, while at 16% among women and 10,5% for men.
In a speech read on his behalf last week at the Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) Zimbabwe’s Mini Biomedical HIV prevention forum, Nac chief executive Bernard Madzima said while Zimbabwe had achieved commendable progress in response to HIV and Aids, it remained heavily burdened by HIV.
Zimbabwe has 1,3 million people living with HIV (PLHIV).
“The country is still grappling with higher infection rates of adolescent girls and young women aged 15 to 29 years. The HIV estimates of 2022 highlighted that the new infections are generally higher in females aged 15 to 29 years and girls aged between 15 and 19 years.
“The incidence was 7,3 times higher than that of their male counterparts. The country, therefore, needs to ensure that strategies that address the root causes of the prevailing situation go beyond health programming to address the social issues that young women face,” he said.
More than 75 000 of PLHIV are children aged 0-14 years.
“Globally, about 1,4 million women living with HIV fall pregnant each year including our Zimbabwean women. Without any intervention, the women have a 15 to 45% risk of transmitting HIV to their babies, during pregnancy, labour, delivery or breastfeeding.
“Our country is one of the 22 countries (21 of which are in Africa) that account for over 90% of pregnant women living with HIV globally. That is the reason why we have 75 000 children aged 0-14 years living with HIV, with over 90% having been infected through mother to child transmission,” he noted.