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ZIMBABWE is one of 15 countries in the world accounting for 75 percent of new HIV infections worldwide, according to a new report by the United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS.

The report, which was released ahead of the International AIDS conference which begins in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, concedes that while Zimbabwe has a major AIDS burden the country had also made a g response to contain the epidemic.

Zimbabwe is expected to have a g presence at the conference including a satellite session headed by Health Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa which will showcase the country’s g progress in halting mother-to-child HIV transmission.

The epidemic appears fairly homogenous with similar HIV prevalence levels across all of the country’s 10 provinces. However, there are hotspots for the infection such as border towns, mining areas, growth points and resettlement farms.

The HIV prevalence is slightly higher in urban areas than in rural areas. HIV prevalence in the 15-24 age group in women is 1.5 times higher than in men.

“Zimbabwe accounts for 3 percent of all new HIV infections globally in 2013, but there has been a 34 percent decline in the number of new infections in Zimbabwe between 2005 and 2013,” the report says.

“Similarly, Zimbabwe accounts for 4 percent of all AIDS deaths in 2013, but deaths from AIDS in Zimbabwe have declined by 57 percent between 2005 and 2013.”

The report says Zimbabwe has made progress in scaling up access to treatment by contributing 5 percent of the global total of people who newly accessed antiretroviral therapy between 2010 and 2013.

“The country has achieved universal access coverage in most of the lifesaving interventions and the percentage of HIV-positive pregnant women who receive antiretroviral medication to reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission,” the report states.

The National AIDS Council says at least 1 242 768 people are living with HIV in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s population stands at 13 million people.

Source : New Zimbabwe