United Nations, UNAIDS Send HIV Prevention Teams to Haiti To Educate Peacekeeping Forces, Civilian Staff
The United Nations and UNAIDS have sent teams to Haiti to establish comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention programs targeting incoming peacekeeping troops and civilian staff, the Financial Times reports (Firn, Financial Times, 6/15). About 6,700 U.N. troops on June 25 are expected to assume command of a U.S.-led multinational force that has been in Haiti since an armed uprising overthrew former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on Feb. 29 (Associated Press, 6/14). Argentina, Brazil -- which has a 2% HIV prevalence rate -- and Chile are sending 2,350 soldiers to the country. One in 20 people in Haiti is HIV-positive, which is the highest prevalence outside of Africa (Financial Times, 6/15). In the resolution calling for the forces, the U.N. Security Council said it "welcomes and encourages every effort by the United Nations to sensitize peacekeeping personnel in the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases in all its peacekeeping missions" (UNAIDS release, 6/14). The sex industry that often flourishes around military peacekeeping could be a "flashpoint" in the spread of HIV, according to the Times (Financial Times, 6/15). According to a UNAIDS release, armed personnel can be 50 times more at risk of contracting HIV than civilians in a conflict situation (UNAIDS release, 6/14). UNAIDS plans to provide condoms, HIV prevention education, counseling and testing services for the peacekeepers. The group is planning similar programs in Sudan and Burundi. The joint operation marks the first time the two groups have simultaneously sent workers into a region, the Times reports (Financial Times, 6/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.