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

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs