HIV infections rate declines, official says

TANZANIA: HIV infections rate declines, official says


A meeting in northern Tanzania to discuss HIV/AIDS awareness.

DAR ES SALAAM, 11 Apr 2005 (PLUSNEWS) - A Tanzanian official announced on Friday that the rate of HIV infections in the country had declined from 10 percent in 2002 to 7 percent in 2003-2004, with more infections in urban areas than in the countryside.

"Tanzanians living in cities are more likely to be infected with HIV than their rural counterparts," Herman Lupogo, the executive chairman on the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS), said.

He made the remarks when he disclosed the results of a survey conducted by TACAIDS and financed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

The survey showed that in 2003-2004, of the more than two million HIV-infected Tanzanians, 7.7 percent were female while 6.3 percent were male.

Although the survey gave a lower prevalence, it pointed out a wide variation among the country's 26 regions (equivalent to provinces) and towns.

The HIV prevalence rate in Tanzania's commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, the survey revealed, was 11 percent while in the towns of Iringa and Mbeya in the southern highlands, prevalence rates were 13 percent.

Based on interviews and blood tests results of about 12,000 men and women aged between 15 and 49 years, the survey indicated that most women got infected between the age of 20 and 34, while in the 15–19 age group, about 2 percent of both men and women were HIV-positive.

"HIV infection is associated with alcohol use [consumption] and the number of sexual partners - women who used [had taken] alcohol during their last sexual encounter were more likely to contract HIV than those who did not use [take] alcohol," the survey said.

The survey also gauged the impact of awareness campaigns among Tanzanians.

"The findings were very good news and the awareness campaigns were successful," Lupogo said.

However, he added that the survey pointed out that most Tanzanians were not aware mother-to-child HIV infection could be prevented.


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