HIV/AIDS Contributing to Rising Hunger in Southern Africa
Approximately 10.7 million people are facing famine in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique, in part because of high HIV/AIDS prevalence rates, South Africa's Sunday Independent reports. "Hunger has once again returned to haunt Southern Africa," Michael Huggins, U.N. World Food Programme regional spokesperson, said, adding, "We need urgent assistance now to avert a major catastrophe." High HIV/AIDS prevalence causes many households to spend limited funds on health care instead of agriculture, and a lack of human capacity because of the disease is one of many factors threatening food security in the region, according to the Independent. In Malawi -- which has an HIV prevalence rate of about 24% -- about four million of its 11 million people are in need of urgent assistance, and one million are children under age five, UNICEF country representative for Malawi Aida Girma said. In Lesotho, more than 450,000 people are estimated to need food aid in the next year, and of the country's 2.2 million residents, about 30% have HIV (Peta et al., Sunday Independent, 9/18). Many HIV-positive people cannot work because of their health, a situation that "is affecting their household economy," Mads Lofvall, country director for WFP in Lesotho, said, adding that "people are just going to go hungry" (SABC News, 9/18).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.