HIV/AIDS, Poverty Threatening Economic Gains in Zambia, President Says
HIV/AIDS and poverty in Zambia "are threatening" economic growth the country has achieved since gaining its independence in 1964, President Levy Mwanawasa said on Monday in a speech on the eve of Zambia's 42nd anniversary of independence, Reuters reports. According to official statistics, one in five of the country's 11.5 million residents is HIV-positive, and 65% of the population lives on less than $1 per day. "We must be aware that the (AIDS) pandemic is capable of reversing all the gains we have made since independence," Mwanawasa, who was re-elected earlier in the month for a second term, said. "Our youths, on whose shoulders the future of this nation lies, are particularly vulnerable and need special attention in the fight against the disease," he added. Mwanawasa also said cases of gender violence and child sexual abuse, which he said amplify the challenges of curbing the spread of HIV, are increasing, Reuters reports. The U.S. and other donors have praised Zambia for its efforts to curb the spread of HIV, and the country is providing antiretroviral drugs to 65,000 of the 100,000 HIV-positive people it aimed to reach by 2005, Reuters reports (Shacinda, Reuters, 10/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.