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Previous studies concluded that the HIV prevalence rate in Zimbabwe fell from roughly one in four sexually active adults to one in five.

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Researchers attributed the progress to a reduction in casual sexual relations and the increased use of condoms. However, the report does note declines in HIV prevalence in rural populations in Manicaland Province.

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The larger U. The report added that another 4.

The HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa remains the epicenter of the pandemic: the report estimated that about 25 million people in the region are infected with HIV, around two-thirds of world cases. The epidemic has reached its highest number with an estimated There were 4. The most striking increases in the epidemic are in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where in there were , new infections, she says.

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Unprotected sexual intercourse and injection drug use are the biggest risk factors in that region, Stanecki notes. There are examples of scale-up of these prevention measures in China, and Vietnam plans to implement in a progressive harm-reduction program, he adds.

Report details spread of global AIDS epidemic - World Socialist Web Site

In China, there are an estimated , people living with HIV at the end of , and the country's IDU-related HIV epidemic has grown alarmingly, with 44 percent of those infected having an injection drug use risk factor. While China has launched needle-exchange programs in 18 provinces, with 92 operating in , some harm- reduction projects continue to encounter resistance at the provincial government levels. In Viet Nam, HIV has reached into all 64 provinces and all cities, and the number of people living with HIV has doubled since , reaching , in The biggest challenge for the international health community is the weakness of health systems in the most heavily infected countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, where there is a weakness in human resources, infrastructure, laboratory capacity, procurement and supply systems, and more, De Cock notes.

In many countries, HIV prevention programmes are not reaching the people most at risk of infection, such as young people, women and girls, men who have sex with men, sex workers and their clients, injecting drug users, and ethnic and cultural minorities.

Gender Equality And HIV/AIDS

The report outlines how the issue of women and girls within the AIDS epidemic needs continued and increased attention. In sub-Saharan Africa for example, women continue to be more likely than men to be infected with HIV and in most countries in the region they are also more likely to be the ones caring for people infected with HIV.

New data also show that HIV prevention programmes are failing to address the overlap between injecting drug use and sex work within the epidemics of Latin America, Eastern Europe and particularly Asia.

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The AIDS Epidemic Update underlines how weak HIV surveillance in several regions including Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and North Africa often means that people at highest risk—men who have sex with men, sex workers, and injecting drug users—are not adequately reached through HIV prevention and treatment strategies because not enough is known about their particular situations and realities.

The report also highlights that levels of knowledge of safe sex and HIV remain low in many countries, as well as perception of personal risk. Even in countries where the epidemic has a very high impact, such as Swaziland and South Africa, a large proportion of the population do not believe they are at risk of becoming infected. The report is available at www. Health Topics.