UN Warns of Possible HIV/AIDS Explosion in Somalia
August 16, 2005
In a report released today, the UN warned that Somalia -- which has been without a functioning government since 1991 -- could see an explosion of HIV/AIDS unless quick action is taken to reduce risk factors. Although HIV prevalence was low relative to some other areas of Africa, "The findings show that HIV will soon become a major health problem if concerted efforts are not put in place to contain the vulnerability factors fueling the epidemic," said the report. The 2004 survey that is the foundation of the report found Somalia's average HIV rate was 0.9 percent, but the rates climbed to 1 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively, in the self-declared autonomous zones of Puntland and Somaliliand. Risk factors that need to be addressed include female circumcision, commercial sex, unsafe blood transfusion, poor education and high mobility. If current efforts to restore a government succeed, the potential return of tens of thousands of Somali refugees could exacerbate the spread of HIV, according to humanitarian groups.
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.