News / Africa

US Increases Funds to Fight HIV in Zimbabwe

A doctor (L) performs circumcision on an unidentified politician in an effort to reduce the spread of HIV, in Harare, Zimbabwe, June 22, 2012.A doctor (L) performs circumcision on an unidentified politician in an effort to reduce the spread of HIV, in Harare, Zimbabwe, June 22, 2012.
x
A doctor (L) performs circumcision on an unidentified politician in an effort to reduce the spread of HIV, in Harare, Zimbabwe, June 22, 2012.
A doctor (L) performs circumcision on an unidentified politician in an effort to reduce the spread of HIV, in Harare, Zimbabwe, June 22, 2012.
HARARE, Zimbabwe — The U.S. government has pledged an additional $39 million to fight AIDS in cash-strapped Zimbabwe, bringing its total contribution to nearly $100 million. The funds come through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, known as PEPFAR.

Announcing the increase in PEPFAR funding this week, outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray said that with the new U.S. support, non-governmental organizations now will supply anti-retroviral medication to 140,000 HIV-positive patients.

"We will be looking [at] an increase of about $15 million in the area of voluntary medical circumcision, which is a proven safe and effective intervention measure for HIV prevention," said Jillian Bonnardeaux, acting U.S. spokeswoman in Harare while describing how the new PEPFAR funds will be used. "We will see $18.6 million to allow the government of Zimbabwe to increase anti-retroviral medications and the third area is toward accelerating the prevention of mother-to-child transmission."

Male circumcision

According to U.N. figures, Zimbabwe has about 1.2 million people living with the HIV virus. The country is already familiar with anti-retroviral medications and the concept of preventing mother-to-child transmission. But the idea of male circumcision appears to be getting some resistance.

Since June, when some members of parliament underwent voluntary medical circumcision, the Zimbabwean media has been downplaying the effectiveness of the method. Media reports say circumcision is a dangerous distraction in the fight against HIV/AIDS, claiming the procedure only reduces female-to-male HIV transmission rates by no more than 1.3 percent.

The U.N. World Health Organization WHO, however, says male circumcision reduces female-to-male HIV transmission by up to 60 percent.  

Progress

 Bonnardeaux said the negative perception will disappear in time.

"I think anything that is new deserves a closer look. This male circumcision is something that has been proved safe and effective. We need to look at the science behind it. I think part of it is our job and part of it is the job of the Zimbabweans of how it can be effective here," said Bonnardeaux.
 
Zimbabwe journalist Tinashe Farawo was circumcised last month. He endorses all three initiatives to achieve what the Obama administration has called an "AIDS-Free Generation." That includes male circumcision.

"People are dying because of this disease [HIV/AIDS]. But if people get circumcised and use all other methods: condomize, be faithful to their partners, getting tested, I think it will be OK because it was proved," said Farawo. "Of course, you still remain exposed because 60 percent is not 100 percent, so you are still at risk like anyone else."
 
HIV prevalence in Zimbabwe has dropped steadily during the past 15 years, falling from an estimated 26 percent in the late 1990s to about 14 percent today.

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs