A TOTAL of 77 000 children are living with HIV in Zimbabwe, the United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAids) has said.
According to its latest report, Zimbabwe has the fifth highest HIV prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa, at 14 percent and 1,4 million people are living with HIV, including 77,000 children.
UNAids said new HIV infections declined by 29 percent between 2010 and 2016 globally amid reports that southern Africa accounts for about half of the global total of new HIV infections.
It said AIDS-related deaths in the southern Africa region fell by 42 percent.
“New infections dropped from 79 000 in 2010 to 64 000 in 2015 in Zimbabwe. Behaviour change communication, high treatment coverage and prevention of mother-to-child transmission services are thought to be responsible for this decline,” says the document.
“Six out of 10 people on antiretroviral therapy live in southern Africa. Since 2010, there has been a 56 percent decline in new HIV infections among children in the region given the success of prevention of mother-to-child transmission programmes in some burdened countries like Zimbabwe.”
According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, about 82 percent of HIV positive pregnant women in Zimbabwe are accessing prevention of mother-to- child transmission (PMTCT) drugs, up from below 50 percent in 2011.
The number of children born without HIV from infected parents has also dropped by 50 percent due to the availability of PMTCT.
Statistics from the National Aids Council (Nac) show that an estimated 1,2 million people are living with HIV in Zimbabwe of which 86 percent are on ART.
Zimbabwe is working towards ending HIV and Aids by 2030. The 2030 global target seeks to ensure that 90 percent of the population know their HIV status and for 90 percent of those who test positive to be under ART.