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At a glance: HIV in Zimbabwe

An HIV testing and treatment leader 

Key statistics

In 2020:

  • 1.3 million people with HIV 
  • 11.9% adult HIV prevalence 
  • 25,000 new HIV infections 
  • 22,000 AIDS-related deaths 
  • 93% 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.

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Did you know?

Although it was after the target year of 2020, Zimbabwe reached the final 90% target for suppressed viral loads soon after, in mid-2021. 


Preventing HIV in Zimbabwe focuses on: 

  • prevention of mother-to-child transmission  
  • voluntary medical male circumcision 
  • behaviour change communication 
  • 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 to be introduced) 
  • close linkages to HIV testing services.  

Did you know?

The Zimbabwean government has been rolling-out comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) in primary and secondary schools, to help with HIV knowledge and behaviour change among young people


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?

Nearly every pregnant woman in Zimbabwe now has access to antiretroviral medicines, thanks to the success of PMTCT services there – this is also contributing to a decline in new infections among infants. 

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.   

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

Although it is known that men who have sex with men experience a higher rate of HIV, data is lacking on how HIV affects the whole LGBTI community. 

HIV-related stigma remains an issue in Zimbabwe, as one in five people are estimated to hold discriminatory attitudes towards people with HIV. 

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. Sex work and drug use is also illegal. Abortion is only legal in cases of rape, incest, fetal impairment and to protect the health of the mother.  

Next: At a glance: HIV in Eswatini

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