141st APHA Annual Meeting

In This section

Improving HIV/AIDS policy responses for southern African militaries

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 5:15 PM - 5:30 PM

Rachel Alberstadt, BA International Relations, BA History , United States Air Force, Judge Advocate, Ramstein Air Base Headquarters, APO, AE
Francis A. Obuseh, DrPH, MPH, MS , Medical Readiness Division, United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE), Office of the Command Surgeon (SG), Ramstein, Germany
Benjamin Blagogee, MD MPH PhD , Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program, Dept of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Introduction: Military lifestyles pose higher risks for HIV/AIDS contraction and transmission. This plagues military security and effectiveness in addition to negatively impacting communities influenced by military presence. A large population of young people uninformed about HIV/AIDS (15-24) compounds the issue when this age group comprises ideal recruitment age. Goal: To identify policies and/or programs, designed to prevent HIV among Southern military personnel. Methodology: An extensive and systematic review of the literature was undertaken and all relevant abstracts and full-text articles analyzed and included in the review. Results: Southern African soldiers are more likely to die of HIV/AIDS related illnesses than combat. Military specific data on HIV/AIDS is scarce as it is perceived as a national security issue, which makes data collection and policy responses more difficult. Results indicate that effective training policies for military groups are through collective training sessions focusing upon risk situations as opposed to risk behavior. These facts are worsened by overwhelming data demonstrating that militaries are unprepared or unable to provide sufficient HIV/AIDS screening, prevention, training, or responsive systems despite heightened civilian progress. More effective and longer-lasting behavioral changes result from comprehending socio-cultural norms of the region. Conclusion/Policy Implications: Viewing the Southern African militaries as key populations for targeted education, training, and policy shifts would provide immediate and lasting beneficial outcomes. This demographic group is crucial to decreasing infection and mortality rates in this region. It is necessary to identify outcome indicators that can be used to assess the efficacy of the policy or program implemented.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Identify target populations for HIV/AIDS policies; Assess (socio-cultural or lifestyle) factors that impact infection rates in military personnel; Formulate policies that result in more effective changes for safer practices of soldiers

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an international student who has taken courses on politics of sub-Saharan Africa and global development politics. I have also written policy briefs and other works along this topic in addition to researching for AFRICOM and working with the International Law Operations at HQ USAFE/FAFRICOM conducting country law studies on all countries in Africa. My main interests are in sub-Saharan development politics and policies under international law, to which my research has been directed.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.