Swaziland Holds Celebrations for King's Birthday, Independence; Advocates Call for Increased Social Spending, Other Reforms
September 9, 2008
Swaziland on Saturday held celebrations for King Mswati's 40th birthday and the country's 40th year of independence -- an "extravaganza that contrasted sharply with the biting poverty" of the country -- the AP/Chicago Tribune reports. According to the AP/Tribune, 70% of the country lives below the poverty line. In addition, the United Nations estimates that only one in four Swazis can expect to live to age 40, and nearly 40% of adults in the country are HIV-positive -- one of the highest rates in the world. The HIV/AIDS epidemic also has resulted in a large number of AIDS orphans, the AP/Tribune reports.
AFP/Yahoo! News Examines Life of AIDS Orphans in Swaziland
An antiretroviral drug treatment program was launched in Swaziland in 2003, according to Swaziland Positive Living. There now are 51,000 HIV-positive people across the country receiving antiretrovirals -- only a fraction of the number living with the disease. Cebile Dlamini, spokesperson for the group, said, "Sick people have a difficult time reaching these places, and drugs often run out, resulting in nonadherence, which could cause fatal complications." Dlamini added that children are the hardest hit by HIV/AIDS. "There is still a need for a more comprehensive roll-out of treatment. The available drugs are funded by overseas NGOs, and this calls for support from within the country," she said.
The article also profiled a family that lost its parents to HIV/AIDS (Khumalo, AFP/Yahoo! News, 9/6).
Swaziland to Purchase Antiretrovirals From Uganda to Address Country's HIV/AIDS Epidemic, King Mswati Says
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.