Conflict in Nigeria's Delta Region Contributing to Spread of HIV, IRIN/PlusNews Reports
August 18, 2008
Conflict in Nigeria's oil-rich delta region is contributing to the spread of HIV in the country, IRIN/PlusNews reports. According to IRIN/PlusNews, rapes being committed by militants fighting for a greater share of the region's oil wealth and the military are contributing to the spread of HIV. "Rape is prevalent: these militants do anything they like, and when there is conflict, the military move in, and they too will commit rape," C. Okeh, chair of the State Action Committee on HIV/AIDS, said. Although SACA works with police and certain army brigades, other military task forces are not included under the committee's umbrella, according to IRIN/PlusNews.
According to IRIN/PlusNews, Rivers State has an estimated 120,000 HIV-positive people, of whom about 5,230 currently receive antiretroviral drugs through seven public health centers. One of the centers, located on an island an hour boat ride from Port Harcourt, receives supplies irregularly because of the threat of piracy. David Fabara, coordinator of antiretrovirals and surveillance in the state, said, "We suspect there definitely will be a problem of [drug] resistance" as a result of treatment interruption. Okeh added that the insecurity of the situation is "very challenging, because we are in a situation of a widespread epidemic with very high prevalence across the state, even the interior" (IRIN/PlusNews, 8/14).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.