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UNAIDS Need to Avoid Mixed Messages About HIV Transmission

A group of researchers in Cameroon have carried out the sort of research work that UNAIDS is loath to do. They investigated levels of unsafe reuse of injecting equipment in hospitals. Generally, such investigation only goes as far as to observe injecting behavior in hospitals and health facilities, where the health workers know they are being observed and can adjust their behavior accordingly.

These researchers looked for misconceptions about injection safety that could lead to unsafe reuse of equipment. They also established whether unsafe reuse was related to shortages of injection equipment. They found that equipment reuse is common, being practiced by 44% of health workers in public hospitals. They also found that there is a shortage of equipment.

It was concluded that injection safety interventions could significantly reduce transmission of HIV, hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV). In addition to effective interventions, the researchers recommended the use of autodisable syringes, which break after use and so can not be reused.

The mixed messages African people get from UNAIDS have got to stop. If the UN can not guarantee the safety of conditions in African hospitals for their own employees, nor can they guarantee safety for Africans, who have little or no option about which health facilities they can use. UNAIDS also needs to stop claiming that 80, or even 90% of HIV is transmitted through unsafe heterosexual sex in African countries.

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