AIDS a Global Security Threat?
Washington, VOA News
A new study says HIV/AIDS is creating potential risks to regional,
national and global security. The study was done by analysts at the
Center on Global Change and Health at the London School of Hygiene
and Tropical Medicine. They say the link between public health and
national security has so far been missing.
Harley Feldbaum is one of the authors of the study. From London, he
told VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua that it’s
a fairly new issue for the security community to look at health issues
as a security threat.
“Traditionally, the security community looked at militaries
and external military threats as the real issues that they had to
deal with. And so I think it’s an evolving new concept that
infectious diseases could actually threaten US security and other
cases of state stability in other countries, which then might have
implications for US security,” he says.
How would the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa affect US security?
Feldbaum says, “It’s clearly having a gigantic humanitarian
impact in Africa. But when you start to think about the national security
implications of it there are… real ways that could affect national
security, both as states in Africa and by extension US interests.
And that is its effect on strategically important people. Those are
soldiers and peacekeepers and possibly undermining militaries and
making it more difficult for militaries to defend themselves. That
has some long-term effects, as well as making it more difficult to
field UN peacekeeping missions.
The second effect in Africa could be on potential for causing state
instability. And I think there’s very little evidence here that
HIV has caused any sort of state collapse or state instability to
date. Although it is clear because it’s affecting the wide range
of people, civil servants, lawyers, doctors, nurses, teachers that
people are concerned that it is a big stressor on states that have
very high rates of HIV, up to 30 or 40 percent. And people are therefore
concerned that state stability is in jeopardy.”
As a result, the loss of trained professionals could have major effects
on the stability of a country.