Breakaway Somaliland Intensifies War on Deadly AIDS Virus
September 21, 2005
In a statement released Monday, the UN humanitarian office for Somalia said authorities in the breakaway Somaliland region have launched a National AIDS Commission to fight HIV. The northwestern sector unilaterally declared independence in 1991 when Somali dictator Mohammed Siad Barre was ousted.
A 2004 survey determined Somalia's HIV infection rate to be 0.9 percent but noted "zonal variations." In the self-declared autonomous regions of Somaliland and Puntland, prevalence was 1.4 percent and 1.0 percent, respectively. Antenatal prevalence in Somaliland rose from 0.9 percent in 1999 to 1.4 percent presently, while prevalence is 3.5 percent among STD patients and 5.6 percent among TB patients.
Somaliland President Dahir Rayale said in a statement, "It's real that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is in the country and already contributing to increased mortality, morbidity, fear, family disintegration, orphans, stigma, and discrimination in our society." Rayale said his administration will mobilize funds to fight the epidemic.
In August, the UN called for the reduction of numerous risk factors -- including poor education, high mobility, unsafe blood transfusion, commercial sex, and female circumcision -- in order to head off an AIDS explosion in Somalia proper, whose population is 10 million.
Agence France Presse
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.