War in the Central African Republic has led to the collapse of the country’s health care system and disrupted HIV treatments, threatening to accelerate the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, health officials there warn.
2 years into the fighting, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS may rise from 3.8% among adults aged 19 to 45, according to a 2013 UN estimate, as the clashes have blocked people from reaching health clinics for care—and prompted medical workers to flee, leaving looters to pilfer goods including antiretroviral therapies to prevent the spread of HIV.
The fighting also made it difficult for health workers to keep track of HIV-infected adults and children; they worry about the risk of developing drug resistance due to interruptions in treatment. Emmanuel Lampaert, medical coordinator for Medecins Sans Frontieres in Central African Republic, said, “Getting people initiated on time and having the treatment for the rest of their lives and the follow-up is so important and a major issue,” Lampaert said. “The world can not forget about Central African Republic.”