Ethiopian Health Minister Dr Kebede Worku has said that there has been a significant jump in HIV/AIDS infection among women in the country. The prevalence rate is 5 percent.
'Women are vulnerable to the HIV/Aids pandemic due to their low socio-economic status in Ethiopia, on top of their biological factors,' he said. 'The national surveillance report estimates the HIV prevalence among women in the country to be 5 percent.' He was speaking at the annual conference of the Ethiopian Medical Association.
A senior AIDS official said that the rate of infections in women was higher than the national average of 4.4 percent. 'The 5% HIV/Aids prevalence among women is bad news, since it shows that there is still a lot that needs to be done in preventing the spread of the disease among women,' he said. 'This is a wake-up call to the government and others working to curtail the spread of HIV/Aids.'
The minister said that a free anti-retroviral treatment (ART) program had been launched in January 2005 and around 35,000 people had benefited from it so far.