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At a glance: HIV in Zimbabwe

An HIV testing and treatment leader

Key statistics: 2022

  • 1.3 million people with HIV
  • 11% adult HIV prevalence
  • 17,000 new HIV infections
  • 20,000 AIDS-related deaths
  • 1.2 million people on antiretroviral treatment

Progress towards targets

The current targets for HIV testing and treatment are called the 95-95-95 targets and must be reached by 2025 in order to end AIDS by 2030.

In 2022 in Zimbabwe:

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Did you know?

Zimbabwe was one of a handful of African countries to reach the UNAIDS’s 90-90-90 targets in 2020. And in 2022 it achieved the 95-95-95 targets, three years ahead of schedule.


Preventing HIV in Zimbabwe focuses on:

  • prevention of mother-to-child transmission
  • voluntary medical male circumcision
  • behaviour change communication
  • comprehensive sexuality education (being rolled out in primary and secondary schools)
  • distributing condoms, including male and female condoms
  • STI management, including partner infections
  • PrEP (a daily pill is available and a vaginal ring and injectable are approved for use)
  • linked closely to HIV testing services.

Did you know?

Zimbabwe’s focused prevention programme has been very successful, with infections falling by 78% between 2010 and 2022. In 2022, it was the first African country – and the third country in the world – to approve injectable PrEP. Projects are now underway to increase interest and uptake of this new prevention option.


Testing for HIV is: 

  • lower among men and young people
  • available at many locations: facilities, communities, at home, and at mobile outreach sites
  • available through self-testing kits, which are popular with young people.

Did you know?

It is thought that masculinity norms in Zimbabwe stop men from getting tested and engaging in treatment. Conducting testing in men’s places of work has been shown to increase rates of testing.


Treatment for HIV is:

  • free
  • started as soon as someone tests positive
  • monitored by viral load testing
  • available in additional places to traditional health settings, such as Community ART Refill Groups (CARGS), through Community Adolescent Treatment Support (CATS) and Family ART Refill Groups (FARGS).

Did you know?

In 2019, 97% of pregnant women with HIV in Zimbabwe had access to antiretroviral medicines. By 2022, this had fallen to 85%, linked to the continuing fallout of funding shortfalls and disruptions to antenatal and HIV services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local context

Zimbabwe has had an AIDS Levy since 1999, which is a 3% surcharge on corporate and personal income tax. It has helped the country become less reliant on donor funding for its HIV response.

Women are almost twice as likely to get HIV as men, and adolescent girls and young women are particularly vulnerable. A national rollout of integrated HIV and sexual and reproductive health services for women began in 2023 to improve service access.

The three south-western provinces have the most HIV transmissions. It is thought this is because of: more non-regular partnerships, more frequent sex work, and temporary migration to high prevalence areas in Botswana and South Africa.

Men who have sex with men experience a much higher rate of HIV than heterosexual men. This is estimated at just below 50% prevalence in 2021. But many men who have sex with men do not test for HIV, and data is lacking on how HIV affects the rest of the LGBTI community. Data is limited for other marginalised populations, but various studies suggest HIV prevalence among female sex workers is around 50%.

HIV-related stigma remains an issue in Zimbabwe. In 2022, the HIV Stigma Index for Zimbabwe found that 70% of people with HIV had experienced stigma due to their HIV status. The most common forms of stigma were being excluded from social gatherings, being gossiped about and experiencing verbal or physical abuse. 

The legal environment also makes it difficult for many people to access sexual and reproductive health services. It is illegal for men to have sex with men and in 2022 a harmful law limiting freedom of association, including for LGBT+ organisations, was passed. Sex work and drug use is also illegal. Abortion is only legal in cases of rape, incest, foetal impairment and to protect the health of the mother. However, Zimbabwe has reformed laws so that HIV transmission or non-disclosure is no longer criminalised.

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