Asian Development Bank Projects Aimed at Improving Transportation, Infrastructure Fueling Spread of HIV in Some Areas, Study FindsAsian Development Bank projects aimed at improving transportation and infrastructure in Asia could be fueling the spread of HIV in some parts of the region, according to an ADB study released Thursday, AFP/Google.com reports. According to the study, large construction and transportation projects draw men into rural areas, increasing the demand for sex. In addition, commercial sex work, as well as drug and human trafficking, follow major construction and transportation projects, increasing the spread of HIV in the areas surrounding the projects, the study found.
According to the study, long-distance truck drivers in Bangladesh have the highest rates of HIV in the country. It also found that the incidence of sexually transmitted infections in China is four times higher among truck drivers than the general population. The study also found an HIV prevalence of 16% along a transport route in southern India, compared with an HIV prevalence of less than 1% nationwide. In addition, the study found that the 1997 construction of the Mandalay-Muse highway, which connects Myanmar and China, led to an increase in injection drug use, fueling the spread of HIV among IDUs in three of Myanmar's provinces.
ADB said that although improved transportation "bring[s] many benefits," it also "increase[s] risks through greater mobility and connectivity." The bank added that mobile groups, especially "mobile men with money," are more likely to engage in risky sex and injection drug use. The bank added that it plans to integrate HIV prevention, education and treatment initiatives into its transportation and infrastructure programs, AFP/Google.com reports.
The United Nations estimated that 5.4 million people are living with HIV/AIDS in the region and that there have been nearly one million new cases since 2006. In addition, about 640,000 people in the region have died of AIDS-related causes (AFP/Google.com, 2/28).
The ADB study is available online (.pdf). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.