Good news from and about Zimbabwe is rare. But this February, a new study revealed a dramatic drop in new HIV infections among Zimbabwe's 12 million people, 1.8 million of whom are already HIV positive. The disease's prevalence dropped from 23 percent to 20.5 percent of the population.
Zimbabwe's first study was done between 1998 and 2000. A team of British scientists collected blood samples in the eastern part of the country. The sample collecting was followed up with a questionnaire on behavior. The research was repeated in 2003.
The most dramatic changes were in behavior. The percentage of women, aged 15 and 17, who reported a sexual experience during the previous 12 months dropped from 21 percent to 9 percent. Older men and women also reported changes in behavior. The number of people who'd had casual sex recently dropped from 49 percent to 22 percent.
Geoffrey Garnett, a coauthor of the study, says "increases in condom use" could explain the decline in HIV infections. But Edward Green, an American researcher known for his study of the role of abstinence and fidelity in reducing HIV rates, told CT, "Zimbabwe seems to be following the same path as Uganda and Kenya." Christians in Uganda, Kenya, and other African states have supported the so-called ABC strategy for reducing infection rates.
Green said the Zimbabwe study shows that "the primary change again seems to be B [be faithful], partner reduction; followed by A [abstinence]; followed by C [consistent condom use]." Zimbabwe has 900,000 children orphaned due to HIV/AIDS deaths, which occur at the rate of more than 1,000 each week.
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Also posted today is:
Zimbabwe Nightmare | Christians try to negotiate ministry in southern Africa's most failed state.
More articles on AIDS in Africa include:
Warren, Hybels Urge Churches to Wage 'War on AIDS' | Hundreds of evangelicals attending Disturbing Voices conference repent, refocus on outreach to outcasts. (Dec. 5, 2005)
Why We're Losing the War Against HIV/AIDS | Harvard's Edward C. Green says health officials undermine abstinence and fidelity programs in Africa (Mar. 7, 2005)
The Church Awakens | Christians make AIDS fight a high priority (Dec. 14, 2004)
Q&A: Deborah Dortzbach | The international director of HIV/AIDS programs at World Relief talks on our progress, and regress, with AIDS. (Aug. 16, 2004)
Cry, the Beloved Continent | Don't let AIDS steal African children's future. (March 04, 2004)
As Complicated as ABC | Condoms and abstinence can both play a role in AIDS prevention. (Feb. 04, 2004)
A Strategy for Progress | Unless prevention of HIV/AIDS becomes a clear priority, things are only going to get worse. (May 2, 2003)
Civics for Gay Activists | We may see more die from HIV/AIDS because gay activists are intolerant. (April 10, 2003)
ABC vs. HIV | Christians back abstinence-fidelity plan against deadly virus. (March 10, 2003)
Jerry Thacker: Politics Muddies Fight Against AIDS | The politics of homosexuality has made it easier to battle the disease in foreign countries than domestically, says a former nominee to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS. (Feb. 07, 2003)
Bono's American Prayer | The world's biggest rock star tours the heartland, talking more openly about his faith as he recruits Christians in the fight against AIDS in Africa. (Feb. 21, 2003)
Killing a Pandemic | The church may be best equipped to deal HIV/AIDS a crippling blow. (Nov. 18, 2002)
AIDS 'Apathy' Campaign Debuts | Yet Christian leaders say stigma, not neglect, is the bigger problem. (Aug. 28, 2002)
U.S. Blacks Preach Abstinence Gospel | Mission workers testify that Christ helps control sexual urges. (March 27, 2002)
Mercy Impaired | Let's shock the world by reversing our apathy toward African sufferers. (September 27, 2001)
Kenyan President Suggests Hanging for 'Knowingly' Infecting Others with AIDS | Church organizations criticize use of capital punishment as solution to epidemic. (July 19, 2001)
Dying Alone | Baptist women seek out and care for ashamed, abandoned AIDS patients. (June 15, 2001)
Few to Receive Generic AIDS Medicines | Pharmaceutical companies drop suit against South Africa, but problems remain. (May 18, 2001)
Zambia's Churches Win Fight Against Anti-AIDS Ads | Church leaders are concerned that condom promotion encourages promiscuity. (Jan. 12, 2001)
Mandela, De Klerk, and Tutu Join to Fight AIDS | South Africa's men of peace call for end of silence and stigmatization. (Dec. 14, 2000)
Speaking with Action Against AIDS | A report from the Thirteenth International AIDS Conference. (July 19, 2000)
'Have We Become Too Busy With Death?' | As 4,900 people die each day from AIDS, African Christians are faced with the question. (Feb. 4, 2000)
'Sexual Revolution' Speeds Spread of HIV Among Africans | An interview with World Relief's Debbie Dortzbach. (Feb. 4, 2000)
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