HIV/AIDS Programs' Limited Time Spans
The limited time span and lack of sustainability and diversity of manyHIV/AIDS programs in Mozambique are undermining efforts to addresseffectively the epidemic in the country, Cornelio Balane, executivedirector of the Mozambican Business Against AIDS Association, alsoknown as EcoSIDA, said Friday during a lecture in Maputo, Mozambique, AIM/AllAfrica.com reports.
SomeHIV/AIDS prevention projects have a "limited life span -- such asthree, six months or just one year" -- which hinders efforts toadequately address issues associated with the disease, Balane said.Balane also voiced concerns about the concentration of HIV/AIDSorganizations in urban areas compared with rural and remote areas; thelack of infrastructure and trained medical staff in some areas; thehigh costs of antiretroviral drugs; inadequate access to balanced dietsamong HIV-positive people; and the diversity of socioculturaltraditions in each region.
Balane proposed scaling up efforts toreduce the number of HIV/AIDS cases in the country, particularly amongpeople ages 15 to 49, AIM/AllAfrica.com reports. She said a closepartnership between the public and private sectors could help counterthe epidemic's negative impact on the economy and work force. Accordingto EcoSIDA, HIV/AIDS often results in a loss of income and relatedemployee benefits, discrimination, family pressure and an increasingnumber of AIDS orphans -- all of which have a direct impact on thebusiness sector.
In addition, the spread of HIV in theworkplace weakens companies by causing employee absenteeism, loss oftrained staff, additional costs involved in the adjustment andreplacement of staff, and medical expenses for those who are sick,according to EcoSIDA. "The workplace is the best location to spreadmessages on HIV/AIDS and carry out awareness campaigns because this iswhere workers spend most of their time, but it is still beingneglected," Balane said.
National surveys show HIV/AIDSprevalence in Mozambique rose from 13% in 2002 to 16% in 2004 and willreach 20% by 2020. Other data show that the country has lost about 8%of its work force to the disease (AIM/AllAfrica.com, 8/13).
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