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UN Agency Reports Drop in Zimbabwe's HIV Infections 

The results of a review commissioned by UN/AIDS and other international organizations says Zimbabwe's rate of HIV infections has declined over the past five years.

In a press statement UN/AIDS says the review found declining trends in HIV prevalence and incidence in Zimbabwe over the last five years.

The statement says a review team assessed a wide variety of data to determine whether reports of downward trends in HIV rates were accurate. According to the review, the prevalence rate among pregnant women fell from 24.6 percent to 21.3 percent between 2002 and 2004.

The result, according to a UNICEF press statement, pushes HIV prevalence rate among Zimbabwe's aged between 15 and 19 downward from 24.6 percent to 20.1 percent.

UNICEF country representative Dr. Festo Kavishe is quoted as saying while a drop of the rate is good news it is still extremely high. He warns against complacency and says there is need to put more resources into Zimbabwe's fight against the virus.

Dr. Kavishe attributed the drop to successful campaigns by the government and other organizations to change behavior.

The statement says young Zimbabweans are now having their first sexual experience at an older age than their peers in other African countries. Condom use also has increased over the years. However, HIV related illnesses are killing some 3000 Zimbabweans every week. This, UNICEF noted, has also contributed to the HIV infection rate dropping.

Minister of Health David Parirenyatwa warned that the drop in prevalence rate should not give Zimbabweans a false sense of security. He was quoted in the government-controlled daily newspaper The Herald as saying Zimbabwe still has a huge fight on its hands.