Wars, Internal Conflict Speed Spread of HIV in Africa, Save the Children Report Says
Wars and internal conflict in African nations are increasing the spread of HIV, according to a report by the aid agency Save the Children presented yesterday at the XIV International AIDS Conference in Barcelona, Spain, Reuters Health reports. Save the Children's Doug Webb said that the "dislocation, poverty and starvation" accompanying conflicts increase people's vulnerability to infection, including HIV, and added that the "destruction of education and health systems in war-torn countries, plus an increase in rape and sexual exploitation," can create a "double emergency." The number of African nations involved in war or internal conflict has doubled since 1989, from 11 to 22, Webb said, adding that countries such as Angola, Burundi, Rwanda and Sierra Leone, which already have "high" rates of HIV infection, will "suffer an increasing burden" as a result of the conflicts. In a separate report, the health information group HealthLink Worldwide and Panos London said that targeting soldiers in HIV prevention efforts could help fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic (Reuters Health, 7/9). The HealthLink study is available online.This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.