HIV in Burkina Faso
There are approximately 8
million children under the age of 18 living in the small and impoverished
land-locked nation of Burkina Faso and over 17,000 are infected with the
HIV virus, another 120,000 have been orphaned by AIDS and number that is
rising on a daily basis. Burkina Faso is one of the hardest hit West
African nations with an estimated 10% of its entire population of 16
million believed to be infected with HIV.
The virus first surfaced in
Burkina Faso in 1986 and today the most vulnerable groups include female sex
workers (of whom 59% are infected in the capital of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou),
truck drivers (approximately 13%) and prisoners (9%).
Children in Burkina Faso become infected with AIDS for very much the
same reasons as all children
throughout the world, however certain cultural issues and practices has
made the spread more endemic. Firstly, a lack of
education and awareness amongst parents and children is a major
contributory factor, particularly street children who are out of
education and often sexually exploited by infected adults, however most
children are infected through their mother either during pregnancy or by
Burkina Faso has taken the
problem seriously and has set up education programs for children raising
awareness of HIV/AIDS issues. As one twelve year old stated "The earlier
children are informed about HIV/AIDS, the better they will be saved from
the damages of the disease .... There is a future awaiting us.” More
about these peer prgrams in the video bottom right.
The video documentary
above explores HIV in Burkina Faso and the work
being undertaken to address the situation.