Taking early action in emergencies to reduce the spread of STDs and HIV

Afr Health. 1996 Jul;18(5):24.


PIP: The disintegration of family life, disruption of social norms, poverty, and commercial sexual activity associated with the lives of Rwandan refugees in camps in northwest Tanzania increase their susceptibility to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). To prevent such an outcome, the African Medical and Research Foundation proposed that STD/HIV interventions be launched under the auspices of the governing body in the refugee camps. A rapid assessment methodology survey was conducted to acquire baseline data for resource allocation (drugs and personnel), case finding strategies, and staff training. Each refugee community was visited by a team of specially trained health behavior promoters who presented a four-part IEC package: sensitization of camp leaders, general STD/HIV awareness, STD treatment-seeking behaviors, and sexual behavior modification through peer education. Condoms and health education materials were distributed by peer educators. STD services have been introduced to outpatient, family planning, and prenatal clinics in the camps. Although HIV testing was not undertaken for political reasons, pregnant women at three camps received screening for syphilis. Such STD control interventions should become a standard component of refugee assistance.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome*
  • Africa
  • Africa South of the Sahara
  • Africa, Eastern
  • Africa, Northern
  • Demography
  • Developing Countries
  • Disease
  • Education
  • Emigration and Immigration
  • Geography
  • HIV Infections*
  • Health Education*
  • Health Planning*
  • Infections
  • Organization and Administration
  • Population
  • Population Dynamics
  • Refugees*
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Rwanda
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases*
  • Tanzania
  • Transients and Migrants
  • Virus Diseases