Burma Makes ‘Belated’ Attempt To Address HIV/AIDS Through $88M Program, Financial Times Reports
Burma through an $88 million program is "belatedly tr[ying], after years of inaction" to reduce the transmission of HIV, the Financial Times reports. The country's military junta during much of the 1990s ignored the epidemic and said that the country's "impeccable morals" would prevent the spread of the disease, according to the Times (Kazmin/Yee, Financial Times, 7/2). However, after HIV-prevalence in the country increased because of poor health care infrastructure and the population's lack of knowledge of reproductive health issues, the junta allowed local and international groups to become more active in fighting the disease (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/14). Although condoms are now widely available, treatment remains almost "nonexistent," the Times reports. There are between 330,000 and 620,000 HIV-positive people in the country and adult HIV prevalence is thought to have reached 1.2%, which makes it a generalized epidemic, according to UNAIDS. The United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, the European Union, the United States, Australia, Japan and several private foundations have contributed $48 million towards the $88 million, three-year HIV prevention and treatment program, the Times reports. The program, which was developed by the United Nations and the junta, is endorsed by Aung San Suu Kyi, an imprisoned pro-democracy opposition leader. Health workers now "face the challenge" of implementing HIV prevention programs in the country, which has poor infrastructure and a variety of ethnic and linguistic groups, according to the Times (Financial Times, 7/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.