How Did Zimbabwe Cut Its HIV Rates in Half?

A new study found that campaigns to change sexual behavior had a huge effect in the African nation.

Zimbabwe has halved its HIV rates from 1997 to 2007 according to a study in British journal Plos. Reuters reported today on the findings:

British researchers said Zimbabwe's epidemic was one of the biggest in the world until the rate of people infected with HIV almost halved, from 29 percent of the population in 1997 to 16 percent in 2007.


Their findings show that Zimbabweans have primarily been motivated to change their sexual behavior because of increased awareness about AIDS deaths which heightened their fears of catching the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes it.


The United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS says 1.2 million Zimbabweans are infected with HIV/AIDS but that the country has a National Behavior Strategy that is encouraging young people in Africa to have safer sex and fewer sexual partners. If it can work in Zimbabwe, one would believe behavior change could work everywhere.