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Hiv/Aids Pandemic

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The HIV/AIDS crisis in Papua New Guinea: a Non-Traditional Security Threat

Question: What elements of the HIV/AIDS pandemic contribute to it being considered a global security threat?

The face of global security has changed significantly in the last decade. Security threats are no longer confined to military defence. Global security extends the security agenda in scale and includes social development, environmental protection, public health, human rights, and other issues considered to be inalienable pre-requisites of security . The weakening of social and family networks, the deterioration of the military forces and the potential to completely destabilise an economy has made the HIV/AIDS pandemic an extremely relevant and current global security threat.

In the year 2000 the United Nations Security Council made a historical move when it discussed AIDS, a health issue, as a security threat . It was the first time that this global security threat had been raised on an international, national and community level. This demonstrated that the world community was not willing to dismiss the HIV/AIDS problem without a passport any longer.

The weakening of the social and family networks as a result of the HIV/AIDS pandemic is of serious concern. There are approximately 13 million AIDS orphans currently in Africa and this figure is expected to grow to 40 million by 2020 . Lacking family support, guidance, education and economic opportunities, many AIDS orphans will be forced to turn to crime or prostitution to survive . In addition, an individual’s poor health and inability to work also impedes on their ability to feed their family and provide the necessities to live. Financial hardships and the loss of loved ones to this disease foster the weakening of the family union, which manifests negative outcomes.

The deterioration of the military forces as a direct result of the HIV/AIDS pandemic reinforces the link between global security and this deadly disease. In many countries prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS among uniformed services can reach as high as 50-60%, especially in Southern Africa . This significantly reduces the effectiveness and capability



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