Ethiopian Opposition Parties Criticize Government’s HIV/AIDS Program
Leaders of three of Ethiopia's opposition parties yesterday called the government's HIV/AIDS program "ineffective" and urged government officials to declare a state of emergency to aid in the fight against the virus, Reuters reports. Leaders from All Amhara People's Organization, the Council of Alternative Forces for Peace and Democracy in Ethiopia and the Oromo National Congress called the government's anti-AIDS efforts -- which have included the formation of a National AIDS Council and a public awareness campaign -- "not satisfactory." CAFPDE President Beyene Petros said, "The government has to declare a state of emergency, and take serious steps to arrest the alarming spread of the killer disease ravaging the country." He added that "posturing and reading fancy reports by government officials at HIV/AIDS meetings" is not effective, adding that the government had not yet implemented an antiretroviral treatment program. He also suggested closing down businesses that profit from the sex trade and mandating HIV tests for prostitutes as ways to slow HIV transmission. An estimated three million Ethiopians are thought to be HIV-positive. According to national HIV/AIDS statistics published last year, as many as 460 people between the ages of 15 and 49 will die from AIDS-related complications each day by 2004 if measures are not taken to stop the spread of the virus (Reuters, 12/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.