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Press Release

April 5, 2012 
Zimbabwe: Survey reports slight decrease in HIV prevalence; HIV testing and prevention knowledge improving

Harare, Zimbabwe

Fifteen percent of Zimbabweans are HIV-positive, according to the 2010-11 Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS). This is a slight decrease from 18% in the 2005-06 survey. HIV prevalence continues to be higher among women than men; 18% of women are HIV-positive compared with 12% of men.

One in three women in their thirties and one in three men in their forties are HIV-positive. Over half of the widowed women and men are HIV-positive. HIV prevalence is highest in Matabeleland South where 21% of adults (15-49) are HIV-positive and is lowest in Harare (13%).   

More women and men are getting tested for HIV. One in three women and one in five men were tested for HIV and received their test results in the year before the survey compared with less than one in ten women and men in 2005-06.

Knowledge about preventing HIV infection from partner-to-partner and from mother-to-child continues to increase. Nearly 7 in 10 women and men know that the risk of HIV infection can be reduced by using condoms and limiting sex to one faithful, uninfected partner. Four-fifths of women and two-thirds of men know that HIV can be transmitted by breastfeeding and that the risk can be reduced by the mother taking special drugs during pregnancy.

The 2010-11 ZDHS collected data on maternal and child health, malaria, fertility and family planning.

  • Two-thirds of children in Zimbabwe are fully immunised compared with half (53%) in 2005-06.
  • Mosquito net ownership and use have increased three-fold since 2005-06.
  • Fertility has increased to 4.1 from 3.8 in 2005-06; 57% of currently married women are using a modern method of contraception.
  • Two-thirds of births occur in health facilities and two-thirds of births are assisted by a skilled provider.

The ZDHS collected data from September 2010 to March 2011 and was conducted by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT). The survey interviewed over 9,700 households, 9,100 women age 15-49, and 7,400 men age 15-54. Technical assistance was provided by ICF International, as part of the Demographic and Health Surveys project. Funding for the ZDHS was provided by the government of Zimbabwe, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), the European Union (EU), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Additional information about the survey can be obtained from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, P.O. Box CY 342, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe; Email: