Zimbabwe’s Population Size To Drop Nearly 25% Between 1992, 2010 Due to AIDS, Report Says
The size of Zimbabwe's population may decrease by as much as 23% between 1992 and 2010 due to the country's HIV/AIDS epidemic, according to a report published Thursday by the country's Institute of Development Studies Poverty Reduction Forum, Xinhua News Agency reports. According to the report, which was funded by the United Nations Development Programme, the country's population could have grown from 11.8 million in 1992 to 16.6 million in 2010 without HIV/AIDS. However, because of the disease, the country's annual population growth rate is expected to become negative by 2010. A 40% reduction in the number of people under age four is expected, along with a 17% reduction among people ages 15 to 17 and a 28% reduction among people 65 and older, according to the report. Because the disease has most severely affected "reproductive and productive adults," it has "distorted the country's population pyramid," the report said, according to Xinhua News Agency. As a result, between 20% and 30% of children under 15 will be AIDS orphans by 2010, according to the report. However, the most serious impact of the epidemic will be on the country's life expectancy, which is expected to drop to at least 35 years by 2010, according to the report (Xinhua News Agency, 5/6).
Zimbabwean Public Service, Labor and Social Welfare Minister Paul Mangwana on Thursday released a separate report on the impact of HIV/AIDS on the country's different socio-economic groups. The 231-page report, titled "2003 Human Development Report on HIV/AIDS," also offers recommendations on how to stem the spread of the disease. The report found that as of 2003, two million HIV-positive adults lived in the country, and about 1.2 million -- or 60% -- of the HIV-positive people are women. In addition, HIV prevalence among women ages 15 to 24 ranged from 25% to 40%, according to the report. Over the same time period, the country had a 12% reduction in the human development index, which caused the country to drop from the medium to the low human development category. Social and economic conditions in the country have "progressively worsened in tandem" as HIV/AIDS prevalence has increased, the report said, according to Xinhua News Agency. "These observations are evidence that poverty is the major factor fueling HIV and that HIV fuels poverty," Exnevia Gomo, associate professor in the department of immunology at the University of Zimbabwe and the report's primary author, said. The report concluded that "policy is the main tool for reducing vulnerability and hence the HIV new infection cycle" (Xinhua News Agency, 5/6).