Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

H.I.V./AIDS cases on rise in Afghanistan

In an article in Sunday’s New York Times, the publication addresses the arrival and spread of H.I.V./AIDS in Afghanistan. This should be of grave concern as the Afghan Government and U.S. and NATO forces are trying to rebuild the country after two decades of strict Islamic control under the Taliban.

In comparison with other developing countries, Afghanistan still has a low prevalence of H.I.V/AIDS, but health experts warn that it is currently very susceptible as, according to the article, “Afghanistan is surrounded by countries with the fastest-growing incidence of AIDS in the world — Russia, China and India.” The return of more than two million refugees, and the fact that many Afghans are going abroad to search for work and returning, are other contributing factors. Additionally, foreign prostitutes have arrived in Kabul in recent years along with the influx of foreigners and foreign assistance.

Sadly, H.I.V and AIDS are still considered taboo in Afghanistan, antiretroviral drugs are limited, and some in rural areas, such as one farmer whose wife and son contracted the disease, are simply told, ‘Just trust in God.’

There are currently no AIDS treatment centers in Afghanistan – only a single confidential clinic in the capital that just monitors the disease. However, the World Bank is providing $10 million to fight H.I.V./AIDS in the country; helping the Afghan Health Ministry to promote basic health education and mitigate the stigma of AIDS.

For the full article, click here.


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