HIV/AIDS ‘More Devastating’ to Zimbabwe Than President’s ‘Despotic Habits,’ Globe and Mail Says
Toronto's Globe and Mail on Saturday examined how the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Zimbabwe "is having a more devastating impact on the country" than President Robert Mugabe's "increasingly despotic habits." At least 25% of Zimbabwe's adult population is HIV-positive, and about 2,800 people in the country die of AIDS-related causes each week. However, unlike many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Zimbabwe does not have a national antiretroviral treatment program and the country receives only $4 in donor aid for each HIV-positive person, compared with a regional average of $74 per person, according to the Globe and Mail. About 6,000 HIV-positive people are receiving antiretrovirals through government clinics, nongovernmental organizations and one local AIDS organization that provides the drugs illegally. Another 3,000 to 4,000 people can afford to pay for the medications at private clinics, although the supply of drugs in the country is "unreliable," the Globe and Mail reports. Donor organization staff say they make "hard decisions" about where funding will be used most effectively for HIV/AIDS projects, and some express concerns that Mugabe might use the provision of antiretrovirals "the same way he has food aid -- as a blatant political tool, providing supplies to his perceived political supporters and freezing out anyone thought to support his opposition," according to the Globe and Mail (Nolen, Globe and Mail, 4/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.