As Zimbabwe joined the global community in commemorating the World AIDS Day Tuesday, results from the second Zimbabwe Population-based HIV Impact Assessment survey (ZIMPHIA 2020), released the same day demonstrate the nation’s continued progress towards achieving HIV epidemic control by 2030.
ZIMPHIA 2020 found that 86.8% of adults living with HIV were aware of their status and of those aware of their status, 97.0% were on antiretroviral treatment.
Among those on treatment, 90.3% achieved viral load suppression.
According to the survey, the rate of annual new HIV infections among adults in Zimbabwe is 0.38% (0.54% among women and 0.20% among men) or approximately 31,000 persons over a year.
The prevalence of HIV among adults was 12.9%, which corresponds to approximately 1.23 million adults in Zimbabwe living with HIV in 2020.
Generally, the survey found that HIV prevalence was higher among women than men (15.3% vs. 10.2%).
Led by the government through the Ministry of Health, the survey was conducted between November 2019 and March 2020.
ZIMPHIA 2020 was conducted with support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), technical assistance from and partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and implementation by ICAP at Columbia University and national institutions.
“The ZIMPHIA 2020 findings demonstrate how Zimbabwe’s national HIV policies and programmes have contributed to increased access to treatment and viral load suppression among adults living with HIV,” said Jasper Chimedza, the health ministry secretary.
“This survey has helped us understand where we have made great progress and which areas we need to focus on in the future. With these data, we can strengthen our programmes on HIV prevention, including testing, especially for young men and women.”
“The results of ZIMPHIA 2020 are encouraging and demonstrate remarkable progress towards global goals to control the HIV epidemic. Over 90% of people on life saving antiretroviral treatment in Zimbabwe are virally suppressed, which keeps them healthy and effectively eliminates the possibility of sexually transmitting HIV to their partners,” said Michael Melchior, country director, CDC Zimbabwe.
“The survey also shows that ongoing prevention efforts must be focused on young men and women. ZIMPHIA 2020 allows us to target our efforts towards finding and linking identified populations to treatment and prevention services.”
“We congratulate the government of Zimbabwe on getting closer than ever to the global HIV epidemic control targets,” said Godfrey Musuka, the country director, ICAP in Zimbabwe.
“This survey provides critical insights into accomplishments based on the strategic hard work over the last five years, such as in antiretroviral therapy uptake and viral load suppression.”
In the coming decade, Zimbabwe is well-positioned to achieve the UNAIDS goal to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, as it continues to intensify its efforts to expand HIV testing services and access to life-saving treatment.