Communities in Africa twice as likely to have HIV when mines open nearby – by Edith Magak ( – October 18, 2022)

When industrial mines open in sub-Saharan Africa, the local population becomes twice as likely to be HIV positive than before the mines opened. Mining operations also increase the likelihood of multiple sex partners by 70%, high-risk sex partners by 30%, and condomless sex by 70%.

Additionally, mining communities have 20% less knowledge about HIV than non-mining areas. Researchers from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute recently published these findings in the journal AIDS.

“We find that on average, mining operations increase HIV prevalence by about 20% (from 5.8 to 7.3%). This corresponds to an almost two-fold increase in the odds of being HIV-positive after mine opening,” they say. These results were based on data from 39 major mine openings combined with HIV data from household surveys across 16 countries in Africa.

According to the researchers, HIV education programmes included in health management plans of mining projects have not had enough impact as mining areas continue to be high-risk settings for HIV. They conclude that these programmes should be urgently assessed for effectiveness and tailored to better reach and educate affected communities.

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