HIV/AIDS Prevalence in Northern Uganda Almost Double National Average Because of Conflict, Rape as Weapon of War
September 28, 2004
The HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in Northern Uganda is nearly twice as high as the national average and is continuing to increase because of a "brutal" conflict in the region and the use of rape as a weapon of war, according to a World Vision report released Monday, the AP/Yahoo! News reports. The Lord's Resistance Army -- a rebel group -- is carrying on an 18-year rebellion in the region in an attempt to overthrow President Yoweri Museveni. However, the army "mostly attacks civilians to steal food and abduct children for use as fighters, laborers or sex slaves," according to the AP/Yahoo! News. More than 1.6 million people have been displaced in an attempt to flee attacks from LRA (Muleme, AP/Yahoo! News, 9/27). According to the report, titled "Pawns of Politics: Children, Conflict and Peace in Northern Uganda," the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in Northern Uganda is 11.9% and rising. In the Gulu district, the center of the conflict, AIDS-related causes accounted for 69% of all deaths -- threefold the proportion of casualties due to military confrontations, Reuters reports. The HIV/AIDS prevalence rate nationwide is 6.2% and is declining.
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