Dirty needles research rejected
United Nations has disputed the findings of United
States researchers which says most HIV infections
in Africa result from dirty medical needles.
that the spread of the virus that can cause Aids
is closely linked to unsafe medical care
challenges widely held scientific views.
estimates that about 60% of people with HIV in
Africa become infected mainly through contaminated
needles rather than through sexual contact, but
the UNAids organisation puts the figure at nearer
UNAids says the
conclusions they have drawn are not supported by
Hankins, UNAids chief scientific adviser,
expressed her concerns.
continues to be the major route of transmission
throughout the world," she said.
concerned that a report like this might tend to
make people drop their guard and not use condoms,
when it's exactly using condoms that is required
at this point.
does say that more resources are needed to ensure
sterile medical care in all countries, not just
the industrialised ones.
It would cost
$290 million to ensure a clean needle for every
medical treatment or vaccination in the world in
two years' time, research shows.
Uoma, HIV co-ordinator for ActionAid in Kenya,
said he had not a chance to study the full
research but was initially shocked by the
have profound implications for our programme and
Africa in general," he said.
lead to a serious change in terms of health
behaviour with people being reluctant to enter
He also warned
that it could encourage some people to revert to
previous habits of risky sexual behaviour.
He pointed out
that HIV epidemics in South Africa and Zimbabwe,
which had good health systems, were less developed
than those in countries such as the Democratic
Republic of Congo, where medical care was poorer.
This was the
opposite of what would be expected if most cases
were transmitted through medical procedures, he
researchers reviewed hundreds of studies on HIV
transmission across Africa, going back 20 years,
and concluded the main cause was the use of dirty
needles for medical injections.
published in the International Journal of Sexually
Transmitted Diseases and Aids, was funded
privately by members of the team.