Wednesday, June 23, 2004

And if Africa doesn't have it bad enough, now it looks like their do-good humanitarian peace-keepers are a major vector for the spread of HIV/AIDS throughout the continent.
HIV/Aids is devastating Africa's armed forces in a wave of HIV infections driven largely by foreign peacekeeping missions, according to new research. . . .

A study into the Nigerian armed forces this week confirmed suspicion that military personnel are far likelier than civilians to be infected with HIV. "Aids is now the leading cause of death in military and police forces in some African countries, accounting for more than half of in-service mortality," it reported.

Most of the Nigerians surveyed knew that HIV could be transmitted through sex but that knowledge was undermined by the false belief that there was a cure for Aids.

Published by BioMed Central, an independent peer-reviewed public health journal, the research put Nigeria's armed forces in the same league as those of Angola, Cameroon, South Africa and Uganda, which separate studies have shown to have high rates of infection.

"Personnel in the military are at increased risk of HIV infection. Naval personnel who have been transferred abroad reported significantly more risky sexual behaviour than others."
Recall that back in the late summer of 2003 the United States refused to get involved in establishing order and stability in Liberia even though, unlike in Iraq, the local population was positively begging the US to land its troops which sat offshore for weeks watching the mayhem. Instead we paved the way for an ECOWAS force manned predominantly by -- you guessed it -- Nigerians.

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