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Welcome to zambiastories.com, the online journal I kept during the six weeks I spent in Zambia in 2003 as part of a Pew Fellowship in International Journalism.
The entries below are in reverse chronological order — most recent on top, oldest on bottom.
In 2015, around 50,000 adults and 8,900 children became newly infected with HIV in Zambia.1 New infections are decreasing, especially in children - in 2010, 60,000 adults and 13,000 children acquired HIV.2 Contrastingly HIV prevalence in Zambia has made little progress in the last decade with records marking a 12.8% adult prevalence in 2007 compared to a 12.4% prevalence rate in 2016 according to UNAIDS.34 HIV prevalence in Zambia has declined, falling by 19% between 20.
Around 1.2 million people in Zambia are living with HIV.5 In 2015, life expectancy for men was 59 years and for women 65 years.6 This is a considerable increase from the 2012 life expectancy of 49.4 years, partly thanks to improved access to antiretroviral treatment.7 Unprotected heterosexual sex drives the Zambian HIV epidemic, with 90% of new infections recorded as a result of not using a condom.
However, there is still much to be done as more than 30% of ever married or partnered women aged 15–24 years in Zambia experienced physical or sexual violence from a male intimate partner in the previous 12 months, according to 2015 UNAIDS data.26 Children have been severely affected by the HIV epidemic in Zambia, where 85,000 children are estimated to be living with HIV, alongside 380,000 children orphaned by AIDS.27IIn 2016, 8,900 children (0-14 years) in Zambia became newly infected with HIV.
28 Although this is a significant decline from 13,000 new infections among children in 2010, these latest statistics also show a turning trend from recent improvements where, in 2015, just 4,700 new infects occurred among children in comparison.29 There has been a rigorous prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) programme implemented in Zambia, which has seen the percentage of children born HIV-positive drop by 51% between 20.30 In 2015, 87% of pregnant women living with HIV were receiving effective antiretroviral treatment, just under universal health targets of 90%.31 Despite these promising changes, new challenges have arisen for those infants exposed to HIV at birth, with many struggling to adhere to treatment.
The number of sex workers in Zambia is disputed, as is the HIV prevalence among this population, with studies reporting vastly different statistics.
In 2015, a study conducted by Zambia’s National AIDS Council (ZAC), FHI360 and Tropical Diseases Research Centre (TDRC) of more than 1,000 female sex workers and male long distance truck drivers found HIV prevalence among female sex workers to be 56.4%.
This equates to 70% of women and 58% of men living with HIV receiving ART.
To learn more about my trip and this site, check the About page. : Where the only growth industry is death; AIDS destroys scarce resources as well as family members : A lesson in dying; Once a refuge from AIDS, Zambia’s schools are now its latest victims About this site | Contact | Photos : Leave for London : Leave for Zambia : Arrive in Lusaka : Leave for London : Back to Washington Any opinions expressed here are solely mine, and not those of my employer.
Explore this page to find out more about populations most affected, HIV testing and counselling, antiretroviral treatment, prevention programmes, barriers to prevention, funding and the future of HIV and AIDS in Zambia.
The 2015 study of female sex workers and male long distance truck drivers mentioned above found around 33% had three or more female sexual partners in the last 12 months including wives.
About 23% had sex with two or more female sex workers in the last 12 months.18 The survey found varying condom use depending on whom the respondents were having sex with.
This research will also identify social risk factors such as stigma and discrimination, alcohol and drug use, lack of access to services, and the absence of a social support network.10 Once published, the survey’s findings will provide national policymakers with objective evidence to inform HIV prevention, care, and treatment programs for key populations.