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the world witnesses Zimbabwe's declining HIV & AIDS rate
Video Fair (IVF)
Extracted from IVF Newsletter: Issue No 9 (Sept - Dec 2006)
November 01, 2006
at home" is a campaign that won Uganda the fight against the
AIDS pandemic. This was a campaign to promote faithfulness and improve
couple communication. Zimbabwe would like to model its own campaign
in almost the same way as the country looks at ways to further reduce
its HIV & AIDS prevalence rate.
The 2005 AIDS
epidemic update report, released by the Joint United Nations Programme
on HIV & AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO),
claims that there is evidence for the first time strategies based
upon Abstinence, Be faithful and Use Condoms (ABC) were helping
to bring down HIV prevalence in some countries, and Zimbabwe was
one of the countries mentioned.
Zimbabwe was cited
as the first nation in Southern Africa to record a significant decline
with the country’s adult HIV & AIDS prevalence rate dropping
from 24,6% in 2003 to 20,1% in 2005.
continues to be the most affected globally. "We are encouraged
by the gains that have been made in some countries and by the fact
that sustained HIV prevention programmes have played a key part
in bringing down infections. But the reality is that the AIDS epidemic
continues to outstrip global and national efforts to contain it,"
said UNAIDS Executive Director Dr Peter Piot." It is clear
that a rapid increase in the scale and scope of HIV prevention programmes
is urgently needed. We must move from small projects with short-term
horizons to long-term, comprehensive strategies," he added.
The report showed
evidence that adult HIV infection rates have decreased in Kenya,
Zimbabwe and several Caribbean nations.
The average life
span in Zimbabwe for both men and women is less than 40 years. The
current average lifespan for women in Zimbabwe has at 34 years been
described by the latest World Health Organization (WHO) report as
the lowest in the world while that of men is 37 years old. Swaziland
was included in WHO indicators as having the lowest life expectancy
for men at 36 years.
HIV prevalence rate while encouraging, the country needs to move
fast in putting strategies in place to ensure a continued down trend
of the disease which has been resulting in 3000 deaths per week.
certainly want to see figures continue to go down as some experts
still feel the country has a long way to go. They feel 20 percent
is still too high.
According to the
Zimbabwe National HIV & AIDS estimates 2005 preliminary report
the decrease in HIV prevalence could be due to increases in protective
behavior changes, increasing mortality, or migration out of the
The National Aids
Council (NAC) has come up with a National behavioral Change Strategy
in which promotion of faithfulness will be one of the major focuses.
to promote faithfulness, drawing experiences from countries that
have seen a decline in HIV & AIDS before such as Uganda,"
said Oscar Mundida, NAC’s national advocacy coordinator. "Uganda’s
behavioral change campaign was based on what was called ‘zero grazing’
meaning ‘just graze at home’. This is why NAC has come up with posters
written ‘Keep your love under one roof".
NAC believes the
biggest threat to combating HIV & AIDS is stigma and discrimination.
the major ways of transmission of HIV, but frequently we are not
talking entirely openly and freely about it," said NAC in its
Zimbabwe National Behavioral Change Strategy for Prevention of Sexual
Transmission of HIV 2006-2010 report soon to be launched.
we have not seen high powered people coming out to say they have
the disease," he said. "We also want to identify role
models in different communities who can talk openly about HIV &
IVF has also through
The Steps for the future campaign in which it shows films, encouraged
the community to openly talk about HIV through its discussions at
the end of each screening. Dialogue has included issues like HIV
& AIDS prevention, treatment, stigma, discrimination, testing,
disclosure, mother to child transmission and relationships.
has been central to IVF campaigns, with films shown emphasizing
condom use, disclosure and early treatment for opportunistic infections.
The National Aids
Council (NAC) said while awareness levels were high this had not
necessarily equaled to behavioral change.
In the report
NAC has recommended focus areas and strategies in ensuring a downward
trend of HIV & AIDS prevalence rate.
more male participation particularly the elite, more involvement
of people living with HIV and AIDS, addressing intergenerational
sex (sugar daddies), advocating for more condom protection, more
focus on married women and youths as high risk groups, promotion
of faithfulness and couple communication.
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