Annual HIV incidence rate drops

By ZBC Reporter
THE RATE of new HIV infections per year has dropped significantly to 39 thousand from more than 80 thousand. This came out at a National Aids Council (NAC) workshop for Editors held in Kadoma on Thursday.
NAC data modelling, monitoring and evaluation coordinator, Isaac Taramusi said the goal is to have a 0,2 percent rate of new infections by 2030. However, the body coordinating the national response to the pandemic believes the incident rate should have dropped even further for the country to achieve its goal of eliminating HIV and Aids by 2030.
“We are on course to attaining the goal of ending HIV and Aids by 2030. However we are worried that although the incident rate has gone down to 39 000 per year from over 80 thousand, we still feel it’s too high,” highlighted Taramusi.
Musasa project legal officer Tinashe Chitunhu said gender-based violence still remains a contributory factor to HIV infection.
“Statistics show that one in four women is physically abused. There is also economic abuse which leads to behaviour that promotes HIV infection,” she noted.
Meanwhile, advocacy to criminalise wilful HIV infections still continues, with legal experts saying the existing statute is vague, poorly drafted and too broad to be enforced.
They also say the law is at variance with public health policy.
“The law is broad or vague. It is at variance with public health policy. The law is based on wrong scientific permutations. It presupposes that each time an infected person sleeps with an infected partner, there is going to be an infection,” said Fanuel Ncube, a legal officer with NAC.
The workshop, attended by editors from various media houses, sought to enlighten journalists on issues that fuel HIV and to equip them with requisite skills to handle HIV and Aids issues.