Saturday, August 21, 2010

Swazi anger at prince's HIV exaggeration claim

COMMENT - The King and his adviser are completely correct. National HIV infection rates in Africa are massively exaggerated for several purposes, but mainly for big farma to make lots of money. The claimed HIV infection rates are not reflected in the population growth rate, as they never are in Africa. No accurate national HIV infection rate will be known, until a DHS survey using Western Blot confirmation tests will be used. Until then, all HIV figures for Swaziland are overestimates.

(IrrinNews) SWAZILAND: New survey shows much lower HIV infection among youth

(Washington Post) How AIDS in Africa Was Overstated
Reliance on Data From Urban Prenatal Clinics Skewed Early Projections
By Craig Timberg - Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, April 6, 2006

Estimates on HIV called too high
- New data cut rates for many nations
By John Donnelly, Globe Staff | June 20, 2004

Swaziland Population:

1976 494,534
1986 681,059
1997 929,718

Swazi anger at prince's HIV exaggeration claim
By BBC News
Sat 21 Aug. 2010, 11:30 CAT

Aids activists in Swaziland have criticised a top adviser to King Mswati III for saying the country's HIV epidemic is being exaggerated for the benefit of pharmaceutical firms.

Prince Mangaliso said public awareness campaigns against HIV amounted to little more than scare tactics. He added that male circumcision was no more a preventative measure than bathing after sexual intercourse. Swaziland For Positive Living told the BBC the remarks were "irresponsible".

According to UNAids, Swaziland - Africa's last absolute monarchy - has one of the highest levels of HIV infections in the world, with a prevalence rate of 26 per cent in the adult population.

'Bad example'

"The prince he has just exhibited high standards of ignorance," Tengetile Hlophe, a co-ordinator of the charity Swaziland For Positive Living, told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

She said that statistics could not lie and that 42.6 per cent of pregnant women in kingdom were infected with HIV.

"Male circumcision is scientifically proven to lessen the risk," she added.

Trials in Kenya, Uganda and South Africa have shown that the operation reduces by 60 per cent the risk of a man contracting HIV - the virus that causes Aids.

Prince Mangaliso, who chairs the king's advisory council, made the remarks in an interview published in Swaziland's Times newspaper.

He told the paper he was "not scared of HIV".

Ms Hlophe said that his attitude was setting a bad example.

"I think he should apologise to the Swazi nation," she said.

Forty-two-year-old King Mswati, who has 13 wives, has also come in for criticism from aids campaigners for sending the wrong message to his subjects by promoting polygamy.

From the Swaziland DHS:

Swaziland Demographic And Health Survey 2006-2007


The population census is the major source of historical demographic data. The first detailed population census was conducted in 1966 and since then, censuses have been conducted every ten years, i.e., 1986, 1997, and 2007. Table 1.1 shows that in 1976 the population of Swaziland was about half a million. Two decades later in 1997, the population had almost doubled. The high growth rate of the population is brought about by high fertility and declining mortality levels. According to the 1997 Population and Housing Census, life expectancy at birth is 60 years.

Swaziland population:

1997 929,718
2007 1,018,449

1. Spatial Distribution of the Population and Urbanization
Population Growth of Swaziland, 1904-2007

(2007) 1,300,000

(Source: US Census,, Swaziland, 2007)

Someone is playing Statistricks with the population of Swaziland. It is not only odd that the DHS in Swaziland in 2007 puts the population in 2007 at 1 million, but that the US Census bureau puts their population in the same year at 1.3 million.

It is also odd that the DHS in Swaziland has put equal importance on 'reducing fertiliy' (population control) and the 'massive HIV/AIDS epidemic' that they say afflicts 26% of the adult population. Why is controlling fertility important in a population that is being 'decimated' by HIV/AIDS?

Unless there are other agendas being played out. The DHS is a representative sample of the general population, far more so than the Antenatal Clinic Surveys of pregnant women at antenatal clinics. But that does not mean it is not open to manipulation, ill will or ulterior motives and agendas.

If the Swaziland census was correct about the 1997 population, and the US Census Bureau is correct about the 2007 population, then the population of Swaziland grew from 929,718 (1997) to 1,300,000 (2007) in ten years, which means they grew 39.9% in 10 years.

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