Conference name, dates, place

International Conference on Contemporary Development Issues in Ethiopia, August 16-18, 2001, Kalamazoo, Michigan

Document Type


Presentation Date



This paper reviews the epidemiology, driving forces and impacts of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Ethiopia and evaluates prospects for prevention and control. After the rapid spread of HIV infection in the 1980s and 1990s primarily by commercial sex workers, truck drivers and soldiers along major transportation routes, children, adolescents and the general population are increasingly infected. There is also evidence that infection rates are rapidly increasing in rural populations. But surveillance activities remain underdeveloped rendering the fragmentary data on the prevalence, incidence and impact of HIV/AIDS highly speculative and hindering the planning and implementation of prevention and control programs. Available data on attitudes, sexual behavior and risk of infection show that while preventive measures, especially the use of condoms, have greatly increased in towns, there is still a high degree of denial and high-risk behavior and little is known about the situation in rural Ethiopia. Poverty, war, gender inequities, traditional practices, discrimination, fear, the decentralization drive and political problems have been major impediments to the prevention of infection and the care of AIDS patients. HIV/AIDS prevention efforts by the Ethiopian government are reviewed. Prospects of decentralized, multisectoral and participatory planning and implementation are briefly examined and the need to upscale the few local HIV/AIDS programs to the national level is emphasized.