HIV/AIDS Prevalence Increasing in Burundi, Health Officials Say
HIV/AIDS prevalence in Burundi has increased to 4.2% in 2007 from 3.5% in 2002, health officials in the country announced on Thursday, AFP/Google.com reports. About 250,000 people are living with HIV in Burundi, which has a population of seven million. About 11,000 HIV-positive people have access to treatment, according to AFP/Google.com. Speciose Baransata, the deputy minister who heads Burundi's fight against HIV/AIDS, said that the increase is because of the "situation in our country, which is emerging from war, poverty and strong beliefs (among people) in the countryside."
Jeanne Gapiya, head of the National Association of People Infected With HIV, said, "We call on the government to truly recommit itself to the fight against the scourge." Gapiya added, "Otherwise, we are headed for a catastrophe." Benjamin Nicayenzi, an official with a nongovernmental organization involved with HIV/AIDS, said that many international donors have withdrawn their support and that few HIV tests are being conducted in the country. He added that there are "practically no condoms in (health) centers in the countryside" (AFP/Google.com, 5/22).