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AIDS Wkly Plus. 1999 May 10:10.

Burundi launches campaign against AIDS.

[No authors listed]


The conflict-ridden central African state of Burundi launched a campaign against AIDS as the health minister said 160,000 children were orphans as a result of the disease. "This day can be considered the real beginning of the war against AIDS in our country," said Leonce Ngendakumana National Assembly President. He was opening a workshop designed to develop strategies to combat the spread of HIV, which was attended by UN agencies, aid organizations, and members of the government. Health Minister Juma Kariburyo said 30,000 people had died of AIDS in 2 years in Burundi, which has a population of around 6 million. "We had less than 1% of infection in 1983, but today the urban area figures are more than 20%, and more than 14% in the rural areas," he added. But Jeanne Gapiya, president of a Burundian association for people who are HIV positive, said she feared the true figures could be far higher. Gapiya is HIV positive and has lost her husband, child, brother and sister to AIDS. Minister of Defense Colonel Alfred Nkurunziza told the workshop the disease was rampant within the army. Burundi's Tutsi-dominated army is fighting a bitter civil war against ethnic Hutu rebels. The conflict has caused large refugee movements, which has exacerbated the spread of infectious diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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