Urban Demolition Projects in Zimbabwe Disrupting AIDS Treatment, Could Lead to Drug Resistance, More Infections, Report Says
Zimbabwe's urban evictions campaign, which the government has said is necessary to eradicate black market activity in urban shantytowns, might be compounding the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the country, according to a report released on Sunday by Human Rights Watch, the AAP/Sydney Morning Herald reports (AAP/Sydney Morning Herald, 9/11). The government began the evictions in May and used bulldozers to demolish shops and homes. About 700,000 people were left homeless (Quinn, Reuters, 9/11). Many HIV-positive people have had to move to rural areas where there is little access to antiretroviral treatment, and "hundreds of people are now going to die," the report says (AAP/Sydney Morning Herald, 9/11). In addition, the National Blood Transfusion Service Zimbabwe said the demolitions also have led to a blood shortage in the country, as regular donors have moved away or are unreachable (BBC News, 9/11). Many people are reluctant to donate blood for fear they might learn they are HIV-positive. Zimbabwe's blood donation system is voluntary and is one of the few in Africa that screens donated blood for HIV, according to Xinhua News Agency (Mucharowana/Gao, Xinhua News Agency, 9/11). The country has just 650 units of blood available instead of the required 3,000 units (BBC News, 9/11). Meanwhile, a government official on Friday said that Zimbabwe's HIV/AIDS prevalence has fallen from 24% last year to 21% because of behavior change among the adult population (Xinhuanet/People's Daily Online, 9/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.