With a population of just over 14 million, half of whom are under the age of 15, Zambia has among the youngest populations in the world. The 2013-14 Zambia Demographic and Health Survey reported an adult HIV prevalence of 13.3%, the seventh highest globally. HIV prevalence is regionally diverse with rates ranging from a low of 6.4% in Muchinga to a high of 18.2% in Copperbelt. On a national scale, HIV prevalence is higher among women (15.1%) than among men (11.3%). As of 2012, more than 500 health facilities provided antiretroviral treatment (ART), almost 500,000 patients were receiving ART, and 746 sites provided prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) services. Good macroeconomic performance, coupled with consistent, rapid growth in key sectors, has helped spur Zambia’s recent GDP growth. Nevertheless, poverty continues to be widespread, with 64% of the total population living below the poverty line. Chronic under-nutrition remains a major challenge, with 45% of children under five years of age stunted—and of those, 21% are severely stunted.

Over the past decade, Zambia has recorded significant improvements in its generalized HIV epidemic. The 2013 UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic reports Zambia has reduced new infections by at least 50% between 2000 and 2012. New adult HIV infections have decreased by 60% while the number of HIV-related deaths has been halved. These improvements have been attributed to a combination of HIV interventions ranging from the biomedical to the socio-behavioral, but there is still work to be done towards achieving the goal of an AIDS-free generation.

Household economic factors affect a household’s ability to access sufficient quantities of food as well as the nutritional quality of the diet, and pose barriers to routine access to health care. As NACS clients achieve improved health as a result of clinical services, they and their households may need economic support to prevent relapse into malnutrition.  Referrals to supportive services are also an important alternative for those clients who do not require specialized food products through NACS, and can support retention in care.

Read more about the project’s activities in Zambiaon our resource page.