HIV / AIDS / Tuberculosis

Prevention of HIV/AIDS Among Personnel in the Umbutfo Eswatini Defense Force

Location: Eswatini

Partners: Umbutfo Eswatini Defense Force

Donor: US Department of Defense

Duration: 2001-2003

King Mswati III of Eswatini declared HIV/AIDS a national disaster during the opening of the Seventh Parliament of the Kingdom of Eswatini on the February 19, 1999, when Eswatini had the second highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the world behind Botswana. In Eswatini, more than 60% of new infections occurred in people in the 15-39 year age group.

The extremely high incidence and prevalence rates in this age group created a need for HIV/AIDS programming to reach young and middle-aged adults, many of whom formed the core of the Umbutfo Eswatini Defense Force (UEDF). Military personnel throughout the world are among the most susceptible populations to HIV/AIDS because they are young, sexually active, frequently deployed, and presented with opportunities for casual sex. These facts highlight the critical importance of creating effective HIV/AIDS prevention programs for armed services personnel in Eswatini.

In 2001, MCDI was awarded a contract by the United States Department of Defense for Prevention of HIV/AIDS among Personnel in the UEDF. The goal of this project was to decrease the incidence rate of HIV/AIDS among UEDF personnel, their families, and communities.

Specific objectives included 1) assessing risk behaviors, knowledge, and attitudes of armed services personnel about HIV/AIDS, 2) assisting the UEDF in implementing new approaches for effective prevention strategies including public awareness and BCC initiatives, 3) strengthening the capacity of the UEDF to support armed services personnel and their families who are affected by HIV/AIDS, and 4) developing the capacity of the UEDF to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of their HIV/AIDS prevention initiatives.

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