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Niger Stages AIDS Awareness Campaign

November 14, 2001

Niger's National AIDS Control Program, whose mission is to increase public awareness of the dangers of HIV/AIDS and its causes, recently visited the southwest district of Tahoua, which is seriously affected by the pandemic due to emigration. "The mission aimed at sensitizing people in the rural areas who are facing a rural exodus so that they are more aware of dangers of the pandemic," said Abdoua Kanta, presidential advisor on information, education and communication.

In 1999 there were 1,625 reported AIDS cases in Tahoua, whereas the national district average was below 100, except for the capital Niamey, AIDS statistics showed. To explain the relatively high number of AIDS cases in the district, health workers blamed the high rate of emigration to other West African countries. Many of these people came back infected with HIV, which they subsequently spread within their family and community, the workers said. According to statistics showing serious disparities between the regions, the overall AIDS prevalence rate in Niger is estimated at 2 percent, or 5,626 cases.

Community leaders and religious and political authorities took part in the three-week mission carried out in the Bouza, Keita, Tahoua and Illela areas of the district. The mission fell within the scope of an awareness campaign essentially oriented towards emigrants in the regions of Dosso, Tahoua and Tillabery, sources said. The awareness sessions held during the mission were accompanied by live music from a local band that played at the market places of all the villages visited on the mission. According to Kanta, taboos and other preconceived ideas about AIDS are gradually fading away among the people. Instead, people are being more realistic and aware of the pandemic and its deadly consequences.

Back to other CDC news for November 14, 2001

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Adapted from:
Panafrican News Agency

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
Quiz: Are You at Risk for HIV?
10 Common Fears About HIV Transmission
More on HIV Prevention in Niger



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