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HIV/AIDS drop - behavioural change or skewed statistics?
October 10, 200
- A recent national survey shows that Zimbabwe's HIV prevalence
rate has dropped dramatically in the past two years, but the cause
of this welcome change is not clear.
the study - carried out by UNAIDS, the US Centres for Disease Control
and several universities - the percentage of Zimbabweans between
the ages of 15 and 49 infected with HIV dropped from 24.6 percent
to 20.1 percent in the last two years.
Health and Child
Welfare Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa was quick to attribute the
lower infection rates to behavioural change, saying that "everyone
now seems to know the importance of preventing HIV and, to an extent,
are trying their best to avoid getting infected", the Herald
executive director of The
Centre, an HIV/AIDS support organisation, was more cautious.
The findings were "not a distortion of the figures - but there
is a need for more accurate information," she told PlusNews.
recent slum clearance campaign, which displaced some 700,000 people,
and the "new way of [statistical] modelling" used by UNAIDS
made the information in the new study difficult to compare with
previous research, Francis warned.
between rural and urban areas, and between different age groups
would improve the statistics, because "the survey does not
account for mortality rates - the fact that people have died,"
Francis pointed out.
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