HIV & people movements
Posted by Mission Catalyst at 09:41 on 27th May 2010
Throughout history, population movement has been an important factor in the spread of infectious diseases.
Today hundreds of millions of people are on the move. People on the move, especially those forcibly displaced, are often vulnerable to HIV infection.
The heightened risk of HIV is caused by the social and economic disruption, poverty and powerlessness inherent in their situation, often involving urban migration, seasonal work and truck driving, sex work, civil disturbances and war (creating displaced and refugee populations).
However, migrants are more often seen as a threat to public health than as a vulnerable population, and little has been done by governments to ascertain or meet their special needs in terms of prevention or treatment and care.
In regard to the threat of Aids, displaced people need safe living conditions, and they need HIV prevention and care services appropriate to their language, culture and current situation.
But despite host countries' clear responsibility for their well-being, refugees are almost always excluded from national HIV and Aids initiatives, and policies to meet their special needs are scarce.