Mining, farming areas hotspots for new HIV, Aids infections

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A RECENT survey by the National Aids Council (NAC) has revealed that mining and farming communities have remained as hotspots for new HIV and Aids infections with people in the 30-49 age group being the most affected.

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

The NAC hotspot analysis and mapping report was jointly funded by the Ministry of Health and Child Care, NAC, UNAids and World Food Programme.

“In 2006 and 2012, mining areas had the highest positivity rate. In general, positivity rates for farming areas, growth points and mining areas are high. It can be concluded that areas that are densely populated have high spread of HIV infections,” part of the NAC report read.

“In 2012, the mining areas had a significantly high rate compared to other livelihood sectors, with a positivity rate of 24% up from 14% in 2009. This sharp increase in HIV-positivity among pregnant women in mining areas needs to be investigated further.”

However, the report said Zimbabwe had since 2005 recorded a decline in the HIV prevalence rate, although the 30-49 age group still recorded a high HIV-positivity rate.

“From 2001 to 2004, the 25 to 29 age group had the highest HIV-positivity rate, the highest being 43% in 2002. In 2006, the prevalence for the 25 to 29 years and that for 30 to 49 years were both at 14%. The average HIV-positivity rate for the age groups from 2001 to 2012, according to Figure 14, is highest for the 25 to 29 years and the 30 to 49 year age groups.

“These two age groups have constantly had a high HIV-positivity rate over the 12-year period and when added together with high risk factors prevailing in the country, the incident rates and high prevalence rates, this makes them HIV age group-based hotspots.”