- KIGALI (Reuters) - Around
half a million Rwandans, or over six percent of the population, are infected
with the HIV virus which causes AIDS, the country's health minister said
- "We are facing a silent and devastating epidemic
which threatens national security," Ezechias Rwabuhihi told a conference
attended by delegates from Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda.
- The Central African country's population is estimated
at between seven and eight million people.
- Rwabuhihi said hospitals were so overcrowded that AIDS
patients were often kept two to a bed.
- "Our hospitals are overwhelmed, the staff is overwhelmed,
some services of the internal medicine are overwhelmed," the minister
said. "This is not a bearable situation."
- On Sunday White House officials warned AIDS was so widespread
in some countries that U.S. officials feared it could undermine economies,
threaten foreign militaries and cause regional problems.
- Official statistics supplied by the Rwanda's AIDS control
agency showed 11.1 percent of Rwandans between the ages of 12 and 49 were
infected with HIV, with numbers rising dramatically among sexually active
- Those most at risk are women aged between 25 and 29 of
whom 21.5 percent have contracted HIV, compared to 13.9 percent of men
in the same category.
- Life expectancy in Rwanda is 42 years, 10 years less
than in the early 1980s when the virus was first identified in the country.
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