Chicago Tribune Examines Southern African Militaries’ Approaches To Controlling HIV/AIDS
The Chicago Tribune on Tuesday examined how Southern Africa's militaries, "after years of struggling to come to grips with [HIV/]AIDS in their ranks, are turning into some of the most effective combatants against the virus in Africa." With national security depending on military readiness, controlling HIV/AIDS has become a priority for militaries in the region, according to the Tribune. Most soldiers in Southern Africa have been tested for HIV, and some military bases in the region offer HIV support group meetings. Soldiers also can obtain condoms and antiretroviral drugs at many bases. Botswana's military puts troops who test positive for HIV on antiretrovirals, and soldiers sent on field missions are accompanied by a 90-day supply of drugs. South Africa is supplying more than 1,000 of its troops with antiretrovirals, and in Namibia, the wives and children of HIV-positive soldiers also can receive treatment, the Tribune reports. In Zambia, as in a number of other countries in the region, the military conducts HIV/AIDS treatment campaigns for civilians in remote areas unreachable by national health services. The military's structure of discipline has led to routine HIV testing, adherence to drug treatments and regular condom use, according to Martin Rupia, who is leading a research project on HIV/AIDS in the military at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, South Africa. "The militaries are well ahead of many sectors in their own societies" when it comes to preventing, treating and monitoring HIV/AIDS, Rupia said (Goering, Chicago Tribune, 3/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.