Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

  • War spurred West African HIV epidemic

Shares
The variety of HIV prevalent in West Africa, HIV-2, crossed into humans in the 1940s, but did not start to spread until sometime between 1955 and 1970 — just when Guinea-Bissau was embroiled in a war of independence, according to a new study.

An international team of researchers analysed viral samples from the country. They report in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that fewer than 10 people had subtype A of HIV-2 until the mid-1950s, but then this number increased exponentially.

The researchers suggest that the conflict in Guinea-Bissau could have sparked the epidemic through increased sexual activity, including rape and prostitution. The transmission of the virus probably also grew due to increased blood transfusions and the use of unsterilised needles in a massive vaccination campaign.

Link to NewScientist.com news story
Link to abstract of research paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Republish
We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.