HIV/AIDS hitting the Armed Forces in Africa

Windhoek- Namibia (PANA) -- Namibian Deputy Minister of Defence, Victor Simunja said Monday, that HIV/AIDS is threatening security and military establishments in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
Speaking at the opening of an HIV/AIDS counsellors' training programme, he said that military personnel like other citizens have become vulnerable to the virus that causes AIDS as a result of uncontrolled behaviour.
Simunja said in sub-Saharan Africa, the armed forces have been severely affected by HIV/AIDS, while in many parts of the SADC region, infection rates are at least five times higher in the military than among the civilian populations.
He said members of the Namibian Defence Force have not been spared by the pandemic.
"The implications of HIV/AIDS are enormous.
Not only is the readiness of soldiers for deployment and active duty likely to be severely impaired, but the cost of health and social care of the military personnel affected and infected with the HIV/AIDS related diseases is likely to increase significantly in the coming years," he projected.
Simunja therefore urged the counsellors to help create a conducive environment that enhances good health for the uniformed personnel, warning that living far away from normal domicile could encourage many vices such as alcohol abuse and unprotected sex.
The training ends 22 November.

09 july 2001 19:41:00




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