Guardian Examines Swaziland’s HIV Epidemic

The Guardian examines the HIV epidemic in Swaziland, writing, “While neighboring countries have made inroads against the disease, the mountain kingdom of one million people continues to suffer setbacks, partly due to cultural norms around sexuality being exacerbated by a financial crisis.” According to the news service, Swaziland has “the highest HIV rate in the world, with more than one in four adults estimated to be carrying the virus.”

“Research has found that, despite government information campaigns, understanding of HIV/AIDS is poor,” the Guardian writes, adding, “A campaign funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to encourage men to undergo circumcision — not a tradition in Swaziland — fell well short of its target.” However, “circumcision of newborn boys is proving more successful,” and “[t]he government has also achieved 78 percent coverage of people who need antiretroviral (ARV) treatment and can now conduct tests within the country instead of having to send samples to South Africa,” the news service notes (Smith, 4/11).