World Bank Head Sees Mozambique AIDS Spread Threat
February 7, 2008
On Monday during the final day of his visit to Mozambique, World Bank President Robert Zoellick expressed concern that new transportation routes being built to support the country's growing economy could also facilitate the spread HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
"As I've thought about some of the economic prospects of Mozambique over the past couple of days, I've grown increasingly concerned about the HIV/AIDS issue because I've seen the data, Zoellick told a meeting of government officials, donors, and nonprofit groups. "With the deeper economic integration and some of the infrastructure projects that would connect Mozambique as a country and with its neighbors, I suspect the movement of people will increase the likelihood for HIV/AIDS.
Mozambique has been slow to tackle HIV/AIDS, focusing more on rebuilding following a 16-year civil war that ended in 1994. As a result, the country has very high rates of HIV/AIDS and TB. Government data show that new AIDS cases are expected to increase by 135,000 a year compared to 83,000 in 2002 unless more measures are taken. The epidemic is concentrated in the country's more populated southern and central regions, especially around the capital Maputo.
Zoellick urged the meeting attendees to ramp-up TB and HIV prevention and awareness efforts. In addition, he noted, HIV/AIDS cannot be treated in isolation: TB and malnutrition must also be tackled.
Health Minister Paulo Garrido said the government considers HIV/AIDS an "exceptional situation, and is developing a plan to reduce the number of infections. Mozambique is working on changing the law to make HIV testing routine unless a person objects, he added.
02.04.2008; Lesley Wroughton
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.