THE World Food Programme (WFP) has identified 14 more districts as potential hotspots for new HIV infections in addition to the traditional high prevalence regions of Matabeleland North and South.
The 14 districts include Bindura, Buhera, Centenary, Chegutu Urban, Chipinge, Epworth, Hurungwe, Makonde, Makoni, Mhondoro- Ngezi, Mount Darwin, Mutasa, Mutare, Nyanga, Shamva and Chipinge.
Andrew Odero told delegates to recent a Global AIDS Response Progress meeting that there was need to improve investment in both prevention and treatment to reduce HIV prevalence in the country.
“This suggests that the likelihood of having new HIV infections is highest in these areas than any other parts of the country and necessitates increased investments in prevention activities in these areas,” said Odero.
“In addition, further risk analysis is needed to understand the risk factors.”
Odero said risk factors were generally high in provinces with the country’s main border entry points including Beitbridge, Kariba, Victoria Falls, Plumtree, Forbes and Nyamapanda.
WFP analyses by source of livelihoods also show that farming areas, growth points and mining areas currently have the highest prevalence rates.
Odero said Matabeleland South has consistently had the highest prevalence over the last 10 years averaging 20.6% but it has the lowest number of people living with HIV hence the need to focus on prevention.
He said there was need to focus on treatment in Harare and Manicaland which have the highest number of people living with HIV.
Odero also said, according to their findings, the national incidence is estimated at 0.98% except for Bulawayo which has the highest incidence estimated at 2.5% and Matabeleland South at 1.4%.
Matabeleland South, where all districts were identified as hotspots, spent very little on prevention activities.