Monitoring trends in HIV prevalence among young people, aged 15 to 24 years, in Manicaland, Zimbabwe

J Int AIDS Soc. 2011 May 24;14:27. doi: 10.1186/1758-2652-14-27.


Background: In June 2001, the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) set a target of reducing HIV prevalence among young women and men, aged 15 to 24 years, by 25% in the worst-affected countries by 2005, and by 25% globally by 2010. We assessed progress toward this target in Manicaland, Zimbabwe, using repeated household-based population serosurvey data. We also validated the representativeness of surveillance data from young pregnant women, aged 15 to 24 years, attending antenatal care (ANC) clinics, which UNAIDS recommends for monitoring population HIV prevalence trends in this age group. Changes in socio-demographic characteristics and reported sexual behaviour are investigated.

Methods: Progress towards the UNGASS target was measured by calculating the proportional change in HIV prevalence among youth and young ANC attendees over three survey periods (round 1: 1998-2000; round 2: 2001-2003; and round 3: 2003-2005). The Z-score test was used to compare differences in trends between the two data sources. Characteristics of participants and trends in sexual risk behaviour were analyzed using Student's and two-tailed Z-score tests.

Results: HIV prevalence among youth in the general population declined by 50.7% (from 12.2% to 6.0%) from round 1 to 3. Intermediary trends showed a large decline from round 1 to 2 of 60.9% (from 12.2% to 4.8%), offset by an increase from round 2 to 3 of 26.0% (from 4.8% to 6.0%). Among young ANC attendees, the proportional decline in prevalence of 43.5% (from 17.9% to 10.1%) was similar to that in the population (test for differences in trend: p value=0.488) although ANC data significantly underestimated the population prevalence decline from round 1 to 2 (test for difference in trend: p value=0.003) and underestimated the increase from round 2 to 3 (test for difference in trend: p value=0.012). Reductions in risk behaviour between rounds 1 and 2 may have been responsible for general population prevalence declines.

Conclusions: In Manicaland, Zimbabwe, the 2005 UNGASS target to reduce HIV prevalence by 25% was achieved. However, most prevention gains occurred before 2003. ANC surveillance trends overall were an adequate indicator of trends in the population, although lags were observed. Behaviour data and socio-demographic characteristics of participants are needed to interpret ANC trends.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / economics
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Risk-Taking
  • Rural Health
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult
  • Zimbabwe / epidemiology