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AFRO-NETS> Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report - Fri, 11 Jan 2002

  • Subject: AFRO-NETS> Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report - Fri, 11 Jan 2002
  • From: Cecilia Snyder <csnyder@ccmc.org>
  • Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002 13:49:31 -0500 (EST)

Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report - Fri, 11 Jan 2002

Mobility Brings Business, AIDS to Towns in Niger

In Niger, prostitution and transient populations have increased the
number of HIV-positive people in some cities, Reuters reports. Immi-
grants from neighboring Nigeria, where strict Islamic laws prohibit
premarital sex and alcohol consumption, have increasingly arrived in
the Nigerois city of Firgi looking for "gambling, sex and drinking."
The town, a "haven for prostitutes," is now experiencing an economic
"boom" along with an increase in the number of people with HIV/AIDS.
One in three of the 200 Firgi prostitutes recently tested by public
health workers were HIV-positive, Regional Director of Public Health
Hassane Moctar said. Although Firgi's 30% infection rate is "an ex-
ception" in the country, it is also "a good example of the conditions
that health workers fear will lead to a greater spread of the dis-
ease." However, Fouraya Ibrahim, a representative for the Firgi pros-
titutes, denies AIDS exists in Firgi, saying that the women "take
precautions" and use condoms, which are distributed by public health
nurses. One prostitute, Aicha Ibrahim, who had seen the public health
office's AIDS awareness educational videos, said it was difficult to
get clients to agree to wear condoms. "Even if we insist, they refuse
or pull it off. They will take away the money if you insist," she
said. Moctar, whose public health team is based in a town 25 miles
from Firgi, said that they can do "little" more than educate the
women, continue to provide condoms and monitor the situation. Niger's
overall AIDS rate is 1.4% -- low when compared with neighboring West
African countries. However, 15.4% of the prostitutes in Niger's capi-
tal city, Niamey, recently tested HIV-positive, according to a World
Bank study (Chonghaile, Reuters, 1/9).

The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org,
a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, by National
Journal Group Inc. © 2002 by National Journal Group Inc. and Kaiser
Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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