| Casual Sex news | World Bank Targets AIDS Along Abidjan-Lagos Corridor
World Bank Targets AIDS Along Abidjan-Lagos Corridor
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The World Bank approved financing on Thursday for an HIV/AIDS project that will target, for the first time, a busy trade corridor that crosses five African countries from the Ivory Coast to Nigeria.
The bank said the $16.6 million grant would focus on reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS among transport workers, migrants, commercial sex workers and local residents using the Abidjan-Lagos transport route.
The corridor passes through the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin, Togo and Nigeria in western sub-Saharan Africa.
HIV/AIDS doesn't respect borders; it exploits borders, Keith Hansen, the bank's manager for the AIDS Campaign team for Africa, told reporters.
According to UNAIDS, the United Nations group leading the global fight against the AIDS epidemic, such busy transport routes promote the flesh trade and spread of AIDS through sexual contact.
UNAIDS estimated about 3 million people travel along the Abidjan-Lagos corridor each year. Assuming an HIV/AIDS prevalence rate of 10 percent, an estimated 300,000 people infected with HIV/AIDS travel annually along the corridor, it said.
The bank said the project was part of its Multi-Country HIV/AIDS Program (MAP) for Africa, which has provided $1 billion to African nations to fight the AIDS epidemic.
Hansen said the project would be overseen by a governing board comprised of members from each country's national AIDS program, but will be administered by non-government-based activities including civil society groups.
Many worthwhile sub-regional AIDS initiatives have been started with widespread support from partners, but to date limited funding and implementation hurdles have prevented them from broadening their reach, Hansen said.
The Abidjan-Lagos Transport corridor project aims to fill a much-needed gap and will help to accelerate the implementation of national AIDS programs in the five countries along the corridor, he added.
The bank said the project would try and expand services for people working or living along the corridor and specifically support testing centers.
It will also improve treatment, care and support services and encourage the use of condoms through social marketing.
Discussing sex is still a taboo in many countries and governments have been loath to upset their constituencies by promoting condom campaigns or HIV/AIDS testing.
The bank said bureaucratic constraints on commercial vehicles at border crossings should be looked at to speed up traffic flows, so drivers were not tempted by casual sex which increased the risk of transmitting HIV/AIDS.
The bank said the project was high risk because it was the first regional initiative under the MAP for Africa program.
It was unlikely governments along the corridor would be able to fully
finance the program, the bank said, adding it would probably have
to chip in beyond the project's planned four years.
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