Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tourism and HIV-AIDS

This was recently posted on

Dear Forum members, I am taking on the notice posted some time ago regarding the spread of HIV/AIDS on the Andamans. I tried to get in touch with people mentioned but was not lucky so far. Therefore, I am posting now message and hope for some interesting replies.

Medium and long-term impact of HIV/AIDS in the tourism context

Tourism has the potential to exacerbate the HIV-AIDS endemic and further complicate matters for vulnerable people in tourist destinations. At the same time, tourism has the potential to be a vehicle for raising consciousness about the issue of HIV-AIDS as well as forging links of solidarity between people and people thus contributing to the eventual solutions. The most immediate medium-term social and economic effect of HIV/AIDS is that it will begin to destroy the tourist industry if a country becomes identified or stigmatized as having high levels of HIV/AIDS. This may discourage visitors even if they are not "sex tourists", because they will worry about the safety of hospitals, blood supplies, dentists and emergency medical services.

Beyond this immediate impact, the longer-term impact of infection channeled from the tourist sector into the wider economy and society may be very profound indeed. It may include the loss of highly skilled specialists, of teachers (and thus the education of the next generation), of careers for the young and old; It may lead to decline in production in important economicsectors and people die prematurely.

ECOT ( is currently gathering information from all around the world about HIV/AIDS prevention activities linked to tourism / in tourism destinations, and to identify initiatives and projects run by civil society groups and others to prevent the increase of AIDS in the tourism context.

If you have any information or thoughts about this issue please write to
Julia (Program Coordinator of ECOT) at


Anonymous said...

Yes Medical tourism is the future and particularly India’s private healthcare system has made tremendous progress. The availability of low cost - high quality medical care at the state of the art, internationally accredited hospitals like Wockhardt Hospitals Group - which is a part of Harvard Medical International is poised to make India a "global healthcare destination"

Recently one of my uncles went to India for hip surgery at Wockhardt Hospitals and his whole experience was really positive. The only option otherwise for him was to mortgage his house and raise money for surgery at local hospital. So many US patients are now taking this option, just check out testimonials on following weblink


Anonymous seems to have completely missed the subject of the posting which is about 'Tourism and HIV-AIDS', and not about the worth and success of medical tourism in India.
The main intent of the original posting was to point to the link between growing tourism and the possible implications for HIV-AIDS and the need to be careful about it.
I would only like to highlight the following line in Julia's post which is of importance - 'Tourism has the potential to exacerbate the HIV-AIDS endemic and further complicate matters for vulnerable people in tourist destinations'



Anonymous said...

Facing the Challenges of HIV/AIDS

Around the world, more than 47 million people are now infected with the HIV/AIDS, It is now a weapon of mankind destruction. It has killed more than 30 million people worldwide according to UNAID and WHO reports since the 1st of December 1981 when it was first recognized. This makes it the worst recorded pandemic in the history of pandemics against mankind. In 2006 alone, it was reported to have killed between 2.5 to 3.5 million people with more than 380000 as children. The large number of these people killed is from the sub Saharan Africa. In some Sub-Saharan African countries, HIV/AIDS is expected to lower life expectancy by as much as 25 years.

AIDS is no longer a problem of medication. It is a problem of development. It is not just an individual hardship. It also threatens to decimate the future prospects of poor countries, wiping away years of hard-won improvements in development indicators. As a result of the disease, many poor countries are witnessing a worsening in child survival rates, reduced life expectancy, crumbling and over-burdened health care systems, the breakdown of family structures and the decimation of a generation in the prime of their working lives.

Bangladesh's socio-economic status, traditional social ills, cultural myths on sex and sexuality and a huge population of marginalised people make it extremely vulnerable to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Everyone buying sex in Bangladesh is having unprotected sex some of the time, and a large majority don’t use condoms most of the time. Behaviors that bring the highest risk of infection in Bangladesh are unprotected sex between sex workers and their clients, needle sharing and unprotected sex between men.

Though the country overall has a low prevalence rate, it has reported concentrated epidemics among vulnerable population such as IDUs. There are already localized epidemics within vulnerable groups in, and the virus would spread among the IDUs’ family or sexual partner. According to the social development specialist and AIDS researcher Mohammad Khairul Alam, “It should be realized that there is no alternative to develop and enhance life skills of vulnerable girls and women to cope with epidemic. They may be assisted on the various levels to become engaged in grooming their confidence and organized. At the same time, their voices should be allowed to be heard loud and clear. Thus the collective effort of women is born with the sense or purpose that they will be stirred up to share perceptions improving their access to reproductive health related information and services.”

In many poor countries, commercial female sex workers are frequently exposed to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs/STDs). Where sex workers have poor access to health care and HIV prevention services, HIV prevalence can be as high as 50-90%. Evidence shows that targeted prevention interventions in sex work settings can turn the pandemic around.

Bangladesh is a high prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases, particularly among commercial sex workers; there are available injection drug users and sex workers all over the country, low condom use in the general population. Considering the high prevalence of HIV risk factors among the Bangladeshi population, HIV prevention research is particularly important for Bangladesh. It is very awful, several organization in Bangladesh are working only to prevent HIV/AIDS but few of them like as ‘Rainbow Nari O Shishu Kallyan Foundation’ try to develop proper strategic plane, so should increase research based organization recently.

Poverty in Bangladesh is a deeply entrenched and complex phenomenon. Sequentially, the HIV/AIDS epidemic amplifies and become deeper poverty by its serious economic impact on individuals, households and different sectors of the economy. Poverty is the reason why messages of prevention and control do not make an impact on a vast majority of the vulnerable population.

Sources: World Bank, UNAIDS, UNICEF.

Kh. Zahir Hossain
M & E Specialist (BWSPP)
The World Bank
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Mobile: 01711453171