HIV and AIDS is the global pandemic. There is no place which has not been hit though it varies in terms of level of prevalence and impact it causes. Africa is the most hit continent while the Sub Saharan Africa is heavily affected by HIV and AIDS than any other part in Africa. It is estimated that about 22.5 million people infected by this deadly virus in Sub Saharan Africa. About 1.3 million people has lost lives due to AIDS in Sub in this region; whereby number of children who are orphaned by HIV and AIDS has reached 14.8 million cumulatively
In Tanzania Mainland, AIDS cases were first diagnosed in 1983. From then, there was an increase of the cases reported from 8,850 to 118,713 in 1999. It is estimated that cumulatively there were about 600,000 cases occurred from 1983 to 1999. In 2009, the number has reached 1.2 million. In 2003 -04, HIV Prevalence in Tanzania Mainland was 7%. However, there was a decline to 6% in 2008 (THMIS, 2008). Women in all age groups are more infected than their male counterparts (7% and 5%) respectively. Tanzania Mainland is characterized as having a generalized type of HIV epidemic.
In contrast, Zanzibar as part of the United Republic of Tanzania has a low HIV prevalence rate compared to Mainland. The first three AIDS cases were diagnosed in 1986. In 2002, Validation survey was conducted which revealed HIV Prevalence at 0.6%. The prevalence has been stabilized at that rate up to 2008. In 2008, Tanzania Health Indicator Survey was conducted. It indicated the prevalence in the general population among adults aged 15 49 is estimated at 0.6%. About 7,200 people are estimated to be living with HIV (2010). HIV is higher among women than men at 0.7% and 0.5% in that order. Nevertheless, there are some groups in Zanzibar termed as key populations with higher prevalence rate then that found in the general population. These are men who sex with men (MSM) 12.3 percent, female sex workers (FSW) 10.8 percent and Injecting Drug Users (IDUs) 16.0. Due to that, Zanzibar has a concentrated epidemic of which the prevalence in the general population is below 1 percent while is higher in key populations.
In 2003, Zanzibar AIDS Commission (ZAC) was established through the Act No. 3 (2002) given the mandate of coordinating and leading the national response to HIV and AIDS which involves multi sectors. The first national strategic plan on HIV and AIDS (ZNSP I) was developed and implemented in 2004/5 up to 2009/10. The Plan guided the HIV stakeholders towards reduction of new HIV infections, provision of quality care, treatment and support services, mitigating impacts of HIV and AIDS and finally creating conducive environment for its implementation. In 2010, ZAC in collaboration with stakeholders and Partners developed the ZNSP II for the same purpose. Currently ZAC is working to develop ZNSP III.