The effect of HIV & the AIDS virus in Zimbabwe
Africa has been ravaged by the AIDS virus,
and the ripple of the dreaded disease will impact generations
to come. Left in the wake of this plague are the continent’s
children. Between 600,000 and 1 million orphans live destitute
A 1995 study indicated that 15 percent of children
in the city of Mutare (population 150,000) were orphaned. However,
this number will escalate to 50 percent within 10 years, due
to as many as 40 percent of Zimbabwe’s population being HIV
positive. Zimbabwe’s children have a future that appears bleak,
nevertheless, there are many privately funded Orphanages in
the country who are trying to tackle this immense and tragic
There are currently over 30 million HIV-infected
people residing in Africa. Of the eleven people infected every
minute world-wide, ten are from Sub-Saharan Africa (Boston Sunday
Globe, 1990). Zimbabwe is no exception. In fact, Zimbabwe has
the second highest rate of infection after Botswana. Roughly
one third of Zimbabwean adults are infected with HIV (Wilson
and Duke, 1996). According to the UNDP, the ratio of dying to
survivors may be as high as 2:6-8 (Reid, 1991).
Approximately 60, 000 children lose one or
both parents each year (UNICEF, 1998).
In addition to the crisis of AIDS orphans,
Zimbabwe is currently suffering from an economic recession,
food and petrol shortages, skyrocketing inflation and unemployment.
In a country where even two parent families are struggling to
make ends meet, caring for AIDS orphans is particularly difficult.
With the weakening of extended families especially in urban
areas, the traditional support systems are failing. As a result,
many AIDS orphans are being forced out onto the streets or into