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Logo of nihpaAbout Author manuscriptsSubmit a manuscriptNIH Public Access; Author Manuscript; Accepted for publication in peer reviewed journal;
AIDS. Author manuscript; available in PMC Nov 27, 2011.
Published in final edited form as:
PMCID: PMC2978669

Assessing the impact of mass rape on the incidence of HIV in conflict-affected countries



To quantify the potential impact of mass rape on HIV incidence in seven conflict-afflicted-countries (CACs), with severe HIV epidemics, in Sub-Saharan Africa.


Uncertainty analysis of a risk equation model.


A mathematical model was used to evaluate the potential impact of mass rape on increasing HIV incidence in women and girls in: Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, southern Sudan and Uganda. The model was parameterized with data from UNAIDS/WHO and the US Census Bureau’s International Data Base. Incidence data from UNAIDS/WHO were used for calibration.


Mass rape could cause ~five HIV infections per 100,000 females per year in the DRC, Sudan, Somalia and Sierra Leone, double that in Burundi and Rwanda, and quadruple that in Uganda. The number of females infected per year due to mass rape is likely to be relatively low in Somalia and Sierra Leone, 127 (median: Inter-Quartile-Range (IQR) 55–254) and 156 (median: IQR 69–305), respectively. Numbers could be high in the DRC and Uganda: 1,120 (median: IQR 527–2,360) and 2,172 (median: IQR 1,031–4,668), respectively. In Burundi, Rwanda and Sudan numbers are likely to be intermediate. Under extreme conditions 10,000 women and girls could be infected per year in the DRC, and 20,000 women and girls in Uganda. Mass rape could increase annual incidence by ~ 7% (median: IQR 3–15).


Interventions and treatment targeted to rape survivors during armed conflicts could reduce HIV incidence. Support should be provided both on the basis of human rights and public health.

Keywords: Risk equation model, Mass rape, Incidence, HIV, conflict-affected countries, Sub-Saharan Africa
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