Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ethiopia's five-year plan to halve new HIV infections

via Afrique en ligne

Ethiopia's government has come up with an ambitious plan to halve new HIV infections, quadruple its annual condom distribution and put 85 percent of people who need life-prolonging HIV medication on treatment within five years. An estimated 1.2 million Ethiopians are HIV-positive. According to the government, the country's national prevalence is 2.4 percent, with stark differences between urban HIV prevalence, which stands at about 7.7 percent and rural levels of under 1 percent...

... The country's HIV plan aims to be comprehensive, but glaringly absent from its HIV strategies is any programming specifically for men who have sex with men (MSM), who generally fall into "most at-risk" populations.

According to Israel Tadesse, a lawyer at Addis Ababa city municipality, Ethiopia's criminal code imposes prison terms of 3-12 months on people found having sex with members of the same sex. Fear of legal repercussions is often a hindrance for gay people seeking HIV prevention and treatment services.

"There is anecdotal belief that the number of MSM is increasing but we don't have any credible or official study or data," HAPCO's Yibeltal said. "Ethiopia is no island to the global state of things so I am sure in the near future it will be a threat. Therefore, necessary intervention should be implemented but the problem so far is a hidden agenda."

Read the rest.

[If an item is not written by an IRMA member, it should not be construed that IRMA has taken a position on the article's content, whether in support or in opposition.]

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