AIDS and civil war: a devil's alliance. Dislocation caused by civil strife in Africa provides fertile ground for the spread of HIV

AIDS Anal Afr. 1993 Nov-Dec;3(6):8-10.


PIP: The factors that play a role in the spread of HIV in Africa are: Disruption/destruction of the African social structure by civil wars which tended to discouraged immorality. Civil wars have led to families being separated and displaced. children especially girls will be forced to engage in early sex. During civil wars most men are engaged in the war. Those men who remain behind end up with many women as their sex partners leading to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)/AIDS. Young boys who are displaced by the war or whose parents die join the army, as happened in Uganda during the 1981-1986 civil war and recently during 1987-1991. Many of these young soldiers got infected with STDs/HIV. Restriction on mobility, curfews, and road blocks also encourage promiscuity with the resultant acquisition of STDs. In East, Central and Southern Africa HIV prevalence is higher in urban (up to 30%) than in rural areas. During civil wars through increased mobility the AIDS epidemic, which was initially confined to urban areas, is spread to the rural areas as well. Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Mozambique are examples of refugees as a result of civil wars who are easy targets for promiscuous sexual activities for survival. Human rights abuses include rape and torture by soldiers. The destruction of economy and infrastructure also hampers control efforts. In Uganda it took from 1981 to 1984 to introduce an AIDS Control program because the country was busy with the civil war (1981-1985). The result was the unchecked spread of HIV infection throughout the country with the result of highly trained people leaving. During civil wars, African Governments do not allow access to information including the dissemination of information about AIDS in some countries. Loss of international confidence also occurs as a result of the persistent civil wars in Africa.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome*
  • Africa
  • Crime
  • Demography
  • Developing Countries
  • Disease
  • Economics
  • Emigration and Immigration
  • Family Characteristics
  • Family Relations*
  • HIV Infections*
  • Human Rights*
  • Infections
  • Politics
  • Population
  • Population Dynamics
  • Rape*
  • Refugees*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases*
  • Social Problems
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • Transients and Migrants
  • Virus Diseases
  • Warfare*