Burkina Faso among countries worst hit by HIV/AIDS, UN report says
About half a million people in Burkina Faso - or close to 10 per cent of the adult population - are infected with HIV/AIDS, making it one of the worst hit countries in the world, according to a new report published with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The Burkina Faso Human Development Report says that the country is now behind only Cote d'Ivoire as the West African country most affected by AIDS. The pandemic will orphan an estimated 350,000 children in Burkina Faso by the end of this year, and has reduced life expectancy by 11 years, compared to what could be expected based on the trend before the epidemic.
"HIV/AIDS has affected all sectors of society, but for women between the ages of 15 and 24, the prevalence rate is five to eight times higher than that of men," the report says.
The report was launched Wednesday in Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou, in conjunction with the 12th International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Africa, scheduled for 9 to 13 December.
Meanwhile in New York, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was scheduled to meet on Thursday evening with a number of private philanthropic foundations that were planning to announce a major initiative to reduce mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV/AIDS.
The programme, called MTCT-Plus, aims to extend care and prevention to mothers, thus increasing the chance of survival for infected children as well as mothers. The foundation's goal is to raise $100 million for the project, which will initially focus in sub-Saharan Africa.
According to Mr. Annan's spokesman, the Secretary-General was expected to tell the philanthropists that the MTCT-Plus initiative was "a wonderful example of the role foundations can play in the fight against AIDS," and that their example would encourage and energize others to act.
"MTCT is one of the five points in the Secretary-General's call to Action on HIV/AIDS," spokesman Fred Eckhard said.