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HIV/AIDS: the implications for humanitarian action

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Written by Paul Harvey

The crisis in southern Africa during 2002 highlighted the complex interactions between HIV/AIDS, food insecurity and humanitarian action. James Morris, the UN Special Envoy to Southern Africa, argues that: ‘The HIV/AIDS situation in Southern Africa is challenging the paradigm of humanitarian assistance.’ (World Food Programme 2002)

The impact of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa is already devastating and will continue to be so for decades to come, as demonstrated by the fact that 2.4 million Africans are estimated to have died of HIV/AIDS in 2002 alone. This report reviews the growing literature on HIV/AIDS and food security, examines where emergency relief should be situated within the wider response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and considers how humanitarian aid agencies need to take HIV/AIDS into account in the programming of emergency aid.

Paul Harvey