AIDS in Zimbabwe

Because of the nature of the regime in Zimbabwe, a regime that appears to neither acknowledge challenges at home nor shares information about those difficulties with the outside world, the true extent of AIDS in Zimbabwe is difficult to ascertain. Best estimates are that between one in seven to one in four are affected by HIV. UNICEF figures from 2007 suggest that out of Zimbabwe's child population of 6,024,000, 120,000 children aged 14 and under are infected and a further 1,000,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS. It is also known, according to UNICEF, that this figure means that Zimbabwe has the highest number of orphans as a % of its population through AIDS than any other country on Earth. As a doctor in Zimbabwe grimly expressed the magnitude of the problem "Put simply, people are dying of AIDS before they can starve to death". Half of those living with HIV in Zimbabwe become infected during adolescence, and, as such, efforts to combat the spread of AIDS has focussed largely on education, attempting through school programs to influence sexual behaviours that are likely to increase the risk of infection.

A program of anti-viral drugs has also been rolled out, however the poor economy has made widespread distribution too expensive and certainly those living in rural areas, who have poor or limited access to health clinics, rarely benefit from the program with corruption rife as officials insist on bribes to administer the treatment. Whilst some progress has been made and the spread appears to have now peaked, the World Health Organisation stated in 2010 that some two thirds of those in need of treatment in Zimbabwe weren't receiving it. More worryingly, in that year, 42% of young people stated they do not take any precautions to prevent spreading the virus. The chart below gives an overview of AIDS in Zimbabwe based on a total population of 12,754,378 and a child population of 6,024,000.


AIDS in Zimbabwe

AIDS in Zimbabwe

AIDS in Zimbabwe

AIDS in Zimbabwe



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AIDS in Zimbabwe
Indicator Number (2009)
% 15- 49yr olds with HIV 14.3%
All ages living with HIV 1,200,000
% boys (15-24yrs) with HIV 3.3%
% girls (15-24yrs) with HIV 6.9%
Children orphaned by AIDS 1,000,000

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