Regional differences in HIV prevalence under prevailing socio-economic conditions: a preliminary comparison of north-eastern and southern Africa
Preliminary investigation shows that HIV prevalence in north-eastern African countries is generally lower than in southern African countries. This has led some in the north-east to complacency. Yet, while prevalence levels change according to the rate of new infections (incidence) and mortality rate, there are indications that the latter may overweigh in north-eastern countries. Given the better economic and social welfare conditions in southern African countries, infected persons in that region are likely to live longer than those in the north-eastern grouping. Even so, the level of HIV prevalence in the southern region is likely to remain comparatively higher, while the level of incidence may hold unchanged. I explore the possible socio-economic factors behind a divergence in HIV prevalence in these two regions of sub-Saharan Africa. The work is exploratory in intent and scope, primarily aiming to elicit dialogue around certain issues and to stress the need for research to better determine the existing connections between socio-economic factors and HIV prevalence and incidence. Vigorous efforts to combat the epidemic are needed in both north-eastern and southern African countries.