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Back To Vidyya Civil War In Angola Fosters Spread Of HIV

470,000 People Have Been Diagnosed With HIV

Troop movements, an increased rate of prostitution and the displacement of 2.5 million citizens is fostering the spread of HIV/AIDS in Angola.

The head of the national anti-AIDS program, Dr. Dulcino Serrano, said unemployment and poverty among those displaced by the fighting has led to an increase in prostitution.

Constant military movements as the army chases the UNITA rebels and the chaotic social infrastructure has made it difficult to stem the increase in the number of HIV cases, Serrano told an AIDS conference.

Currently some 470,000 people have been diagnosed with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. At the current rate of infection, 1 million Angolans in the 15-49 age group will be infected by 2009, according to Serrano. Angola has a population of about 12 million.

She said that in 52 percent of cases the virus was transmitted through heterosexual intercourse. Homosexual relations accounted for only about 1 percent of cases. The other cases stemmed from blood transfusions or babies born already infected. Intravenous drug use is virtually unknown in Angola.

Serrano's agency has draw up an emergency plan to try and halt the spread of AIDS but requires dlrs 12 million to implement it, she said.

Civil war broke out in Angola after the country gained independence from Portugal in 1975.

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Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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