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HIV Infection Rate in Swaziland Now Second Highest in the World
Swaziland, where 34% of adults are
HIV-positive, now has the second-highest HIV infection rate in the world after Botswana, Reuters reports. Government officials earlier this year estimated that 20.5% of Swazi adults had HIV, but the National Emergency Response Committee on HIV and AIDS, an independent body formed last month by Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini, on Wednesday revised that estimate to 34.2%. Manzini, the nation's most populous city, recorded the highest overall infection rate with more than 50% of women in their twenties and 44% of women in their thirties believed to have HIV. According to Alan Brody, acting U.N. representative to Swaziland, Manzini has the highest percentage of HIV-positive residents of "any city in the world," with the possible exception of Gaborone, Botswana. The Swaziland national AIDS project said that the practice of polygamy and a "reluctance" to use condoms are largely responsible for the high HIV prevalence in the country. In May, King Mswati III urged all people in Swaziland to be tested for the virus and called the disease a "national disaster" (Reuters, 8/14).
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