Iraqi Doctors Worried About ‘Surge’ in HIV, Other Infectious Diseases Following Collapse of Nation’s Health System
Iraqi doctors are concerned that Iraq may experience a "surge" in HIV, hepatitis and other infectious diseases due to a "near collapse" of the country's "strict" disease control measures following the war, the Boston Globe reports. Iraq currently has low rates of infectious diseases due to prevention protocols that included quarantining people with HIV and other viruses and screening the blood of people at border checkpoints, sex workers, drug users who were arrested or hospitalized for other conditions and the members of families that had a history of communicable disease. However, looters have destroyed many hospitals and health clinics, taking supplies, such as testing kits, making it impossible for health care workers to continue to follow their protocols. In addition, some doctors are worried that more young people "who have little to do and feel increasingly hopeless" will become sexually active. Dr. Dali Omar, chief of the AIDS and hepatitis unit of Baghdad's Central Laboratory for Viruses, said, "All this talk of freedom and liberty is not good. I hear young people talking about sex more." The United Nations and international medical groups are monitoring the situation, according to the Globe (Healy, Boston Globe, 5/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.