HIV infections in Zimbabwe fell by 3.1% during the first three quarters of last year as patients embraced anti-retroviral drugs and adhered to prescriptions.

The decline in new infections offers no comfort for those who are still dying from the deadly disease, which has been a blight on life across Africa for sometime now.

Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency data indicates that new HIV cases for the nine months to September 30, 2016 declined to 205 711, from 212 330 during the prior comparative period in 2015.

It reported that new HIV cases had decreased to 62 060 in the third quarter of last year, from 70 853 during the prior comparable period in 2015.

Despite numerous well-publicized awareness campaigns and education programmes, Zimbabwean females were reportedly contracting AIDS at a higher rate than their male counterparts.

Authorities and HIV and Aids campaigners have acknowledged that infections have been hitting females the hardest, but appear to be running out of ideas to address the crisis.

Tariro Makanga, head of media, marketing and public relations at SAfAIDS, said the availability of anti-retroviral drugs had resulted in improved viral loads, which in turn suppressed the pace at which the killer disease spread.

However, poverty stricken Zimbabweans that depend on State interventions for health services are still finding it difficult to access drugs.

But the devastation that Aids has caused, although declining, remains a cause for concern for many African governments. Any single infection represents potential loss of another life, and the situation would remain like that until a cure is found.

The statistics demonstrate the effectiveness of ongoing campaigns by government through the National Aids Council and several non-profit organisations that have been conducting awareness programmes in Zimbabwe to combat the pandemic that had until now been threatening to spread like wildfire.