Mashonaland West Bureau
Mashonaland West province has recorded a decline in the HIV prevalence rate and new incidences due to the scaling up of various prevention and treatment programmes.

According to figures released by the National Aids Council (NAC) provincial office in Chinhoyi, about 138 981 adults and children were living with HIV in 2016, of which six percent were forecast to be children under the age of 14.

The report also showed that the HIV prevalence rate of adults between the age of 15 and 49 had steadily declined by 0,9 percent from 2013 to 2016.

Mashonaland West NAC provincial manager Mr Agrippa Zizhou said despite efforts being taken to achieve provincial targets, much still needed to be done to reverse the spread of HIV in the province.

“A large proportion of the province population is infected or affected by HIV,” he said. “The spread of the epidemic must be halted, with zero new infections the principal target.”

NAC believes that much of the progress can be attributed to awareness campaigns that had seen, for example, increased condom use among men with multiple sex partners.

Chegutu district is estimated to have the highest prevalence rate of 16,8 percent, followed by Zvimba and Sanyati districts at 15,2 percent each.

Hurungwe has the least prevalence rate at 8,8 percent.

According to NAC, there was also a decline in the number of new HIV infections among adults during the 2013 to 2016 period.

But Zvimba district contributed the highest number of new infections among adults.

“Mashonaland West has seen a decline in HIV incidence rates among adults aged 15-49 from one percent in 2012 to 0,5 percent in 2015,” said NAC.

“A total of 3 223 new HIV infections were recorded in 2016, out of which 4 percent were children below the age of 14.”

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