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New Report Indicates Rate of HIV Infection Among Adults Decreased in Kenya, Burkina Faso, and Zimbabwe

Africa has the highest HIV infection rate in the world. But a new report says rates of infection in adults have gone down in Kenya, Burkina Faso and Zimbabwe. The annual report is issued jointly by the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS, and the World Health Organization. This year it’s entitled “AIDS Epidemic Update 2005.” It cautions that despite the decrease, the overall number of people living with the AIDS virus in sub-Saharan Africa is continuing to rise. The report says Africa continues to be the worst affected region in the world, with 64 per cent of the new infections.

Christine Schultz is the UNAIDS country coordinator in Kenya. English to Africa reporter Ruby Ofori asked her about the extent to which infection rates have gone down in Kenya and how Kenyans have been able to make that happen. Ms Schultz says the reduction in infection rates among adult Kenyans is due to changes in sexual behavior over a period of 13 years. “It looks as though Kenya has been able to reduce its rate from around 10% in the late 1990s to about 7% in about 2003, and we believe that this change is attributable to behavior change, and more specifically we believe that it can be attributed to increased use of condoms, fewer sexual partners and there’s some evidence that indicates that delay of first sexual experience also is playing a role.”