In 2016, 1.4 million people were living with HIV in Tanzania. This equates to an estimated HIV prevalence of 4.7% In the same year, 55,000 people were newly infected with HIV, and 33,000 people died from an AIDS-related illness.
Despite the numbers, Tanzania has done well to control the HIV epidemic over the last decade. Scaling-up access to antiretroviral treatment has helped Tanzania minimise the impact of the epidemic. As a result, between 2010 and 2015, the number of new infections declined by more than 20% and the number of people dying from an AIDS-related illness halved
Key affected population in Tanzania
Tanzania’s HIV epidemic is generalised, with pockets of concentrated epidemics among key populations such as people who inject drugs, men who have sex with men, mobile populations and sex workers. Heterosexual sex accounts for the vast majority (80%) of all HIV infections in Tanzania and women are particularly affected.4
The severity of the epidemic varies across the country. Some regions report an HIV prevalence of around 1.5% (Manyara) while other regions have prevalence as high as 14.8% (Njombe).5 Overall, the epidemic has remained steady because of on-going new infections, population growth and increased access to treatment
Women and HIV in Tanzania
Women are heavily burdened by HIV in Tanzania where 780,000 women aged 15 and over are living with HIV.6In 2016 UNAIDS reported, HIV prevalence for women as 5.8%, compared to 3.6% for men.7 In 2012, women aged 23-24 were also twice as likely to be living with HIV than men of the same age. HIV prevalence among women ranged from 1% among those aged 15-19 to 10% among women aged 45-49.8
In 2016, more than 25,000 women aged 15-24 became infected with HIV, compared to around 20,000 men of the same age,9 Women tend to become infected earlier, because they have older partners and get married earlier.10 They also experience great difficulty in negotiating safer sex because of gender inequality.
The ‘sugar daddy’ culture is widespread in Tanzania. Women will often accept the sexual advances of older men for a variety of reasons including money, affection and social advancement. Intimate partner violence is also an issue with more than 30% of married or partnered women aged 15–24 experiencing physical or sexual violence from a male partner in the previous 12 months.11