HIV/AIDS in Rwanda
Rwanda faces a generalized epidemic, with an HIV prevalence rate of 3.1 percent among adults ages 15 to 49. The prevalence rate has remained relatively stable, with an overall decline since the late 1990s, partly due to improved HIV surveillance methodology. In general, HIV prevalence is higher in urban areas than in rural areas, and women are at higher risk of HIV infection than men. Young women ages 15 to 24 are twice as likely to be infected with HIV as young men in the same age group. Populations at higher risk of HIV infection include people in prostitution and men attending clinics for sexually transmitted infections.
Rwanda is among the world’s least developed countries, ranking 166 of 187 in the United Nations Development Program's 2011 Human Development Index. Some 60 percent of the population lives in poverty. During the three months of genocide in 1994, mass rape, sexual torture and psychological trauma were common. Massive population flows following the genocide have resulted in an increase in the urban population. The shortage of human resources throughout the health sector is a significant constraint. Of Rwandans killed or displaced during the genocide, a disproportionate number were highly skilled and educated members of society, including doctors, nurses and other health workers. Many health centers lack essential physical facilities, equipment and supplies. Electricity supply is erratic throughout Rwanda, impacting hospitals, health centers and laboratories. Blood safety, data management and drug storage are all impacted by the erratic electricity supply. While stigma continues to be a problem for people living with HIV/AIDS, it would appear that the situation is slowly improving due to good information sharing at all levels about HIV/AIDS.