Los Angeles Times Examines Angola’s Battle Against HIV/AIDS
The Los Angeles Times this weekend profiled Angolan AIDS activists' attempts to launch a "fierc[e]" fight to prevent the disease from "devastating" the southwestern African nation. With Angola's 27-year civil war having ended recently, activists are mobilizing to spread information about HIV, specifically targeting women, young people and sex workers. The Times reports that the war provided the "right ingredients for the epidemic to thrive" -- many people were forced to leave their homes, while poverty and high unemployment rates led some women to prostitution. With the fighting over, activists now express concern that the "free flow" of people among towns will allow the rapid spread of HIV. Osvaldo Colsoul Reinaldo Melin, president of the Humanitarian Action United Angola, which runs the Stop AIDS program in Angola, said, "The war helped the spread of AIDS, because there were many people ... who didn't have access to information. With peace, there is a need to work even harder to prevent it." According to Angolan government statistics, about 8,000 people in the country of two million are HIV-positive, but local activists say that the number is much higher, citing the country's limited ability to test for the virus and the low rate of reporting for HIV cases. The United Nations estimates that more than 500,00 Angolans are living with HIV (Simmons, Los Angeles Times, 7/7). The full article is available online.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.