Africa: Suppling Condoms Is One Thing – Getting People to Use Them Is Another

Published: October 29, 2014

Wycliffe Muga
Original Article:

In a teaching session conducted by Prof Helen Rees, a really important question was raised; something absolutely fundamental for the public health policy aspects of the fight against HIV.

Here is the question: In light of the steady diminishing in global funding for HIV research, what really is the more important goal: to reduce HIV infection. Or to seek to stop HIV altogether?

In short, should we go flat out for the ideal solution? Or should we be content with doing the best we can, given the limitations that reduced funding imposes?

One (partial) answer is to focus on key populations. For example, in sub-Saharan Africa which accounts for about 42% of all HIV-related deaths and infections and yet is the one part of the world with the lowest access to health services, one might ask: What are the social drivers of this epidemic? Why are people vulnerable, and who are the people most at risk?

In most of Africa, young women are the most at risk. In some parts of the world, the most vulnerable are intravenous drug users. In the US, it is men who have sex with men.

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