Road Construction in Tanzania Could Increase HIV Transmission, Study Says
Although the construction of roads in rural areas of Tanzania has boosted economic opportunity, it also could increase HIV transmission, according to a report by the Tanzania Civil Engineering Contractors Association and the African Medical and Research Foundation, IRIN/PlusNews reports. Tanzania in the 2006-2007 fiscal year plans to build more than 2,000 kilometers of roads. Roads and bridges connect villages -- which often have low HIV prevalence -- to cities -- which often have high HIV prevalence -- the report says. In addition, road construction employs "the youngest and fittest members of any community" and "harbors the very people that the epidemic targets," the report says. According to the report, highly mobile civil engineers and technical staff who live in construction sites, separated from their families and frequently bored and intoxicated, often engage in sex with local women. Because there often are more men than women in a village, women might have sex with multiple men, the report says, adding that condoms frequently are not readily available and when they are, they often have expired or have been stored incorrectly. The report urges the government to consider road construction workers as a vulnerable group to HIV transmission and make HIV prevention, treatment, care and support programs for them a priority (IRIN/PlusNews, 9/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.