Mongolia, UNAIDS Sign Partnership Agreement To Combat HIV/AIDS Among Military Personnel
Mongolian officials on Tuesday signed a partnership agreement with UNAIDS to fight HIV/AIDS among the country's military, according to a UNAIDS release. The partnership agreement, which was signed by Mongolian Minister of Defense Jugderdemidiin Gurragchaa and Minister of Justice and Home Affairs Tsendiin Nyamdorj, calls for the Mongolian government to implement HIV prevention activities aimed at the military -- especially programs aimed at young recruits -- and increase HIV/AIDS awareness. Prevention programs include incorporating HIV prevention education into the military's training curricula and developing HIV/AIDS information and education materials "specifically" for the Mongolian armed forces, according to the release. UNAIDS says that individuals in the military -- particularly young men and women -- are "highly vulnerable" to HIV/AIDS infection because of their work environment, mobility and age. Members of the armed forces are two to five times more likely than Mongolian civilians to contract a sexually transmitted disease, and this disparity increases significantly during conflict, according to the release. UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot said, "Mongolia is increasingly vulnerable to HIV given that it borders Russia and China, two countries experiencing fast-growing HIV epidemics," adding, "Although Mongolia's national HIV prevalence is less than 0.1%, low condom use and increasing commercial sex work are fueling the epidemic in the country" (UNAIDS release, 5/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.