Rates of HIV infection in Southern Africa are reaching levels yet to be reported elsewhere in the world. HIV prevalence rates exceed 30 percent among pregnant women attending urban and peri-urban facilities in Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The highest prevalence rates of HIV infection 40 percent are among pregnant women at 24 and 25 years of age in Harare. Similar rates are believed to exist among military personnel. Like several other regions in the world, the vast majority of infected people in Southern Africa are infected as a result of their sexual behavior. Since sexuality is not easily discussed, changing sexual behavior at the individual level and norms at the community level requires substantial effort. Experience suggests however, that people do change their sexual behavior when empowered with the knowledge, skills and encouragement often provided in AIDS prevention programs.
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