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At a glance: HIV in Zimbabwe

An HIV testing and treatment leader

Key statistics: 2021

  • 1.3 million people with HIV
  • 11.6% adult HIV prevalence
  • 23,000 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 2021 in Zimbabwe:

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Did you know?

Zimbabwe is one of a handful of African countries that reached the UNAIDS’s 90-90-90 targets in 2020. It is also on track to meet the 2025 targets.

Prevention

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 to be introduced)
  • linked closely to HIV testing services.

Did you know?

In 2022, Zimbabwe became the first African country – and the third country in the world – to approve injectable PrEP.

Testing

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

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. This figure has now fallen to 87%, possibly linked to 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.

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, 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.

Next: At a glance: HIV in Eswatini

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