The World Bank’s transport sector is committed to addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic. While the overall prevalence of HIV among most countries in the East Asia and Pacific region is relatively low, there is a clear need to focus on this issue now.
In most countries the epidemic is concentrated within certain vulnerable populations, echoing the pattern earlier seen in many other countries with more mature epidemics.
Targeting such groups with focused interventions remains one of the key strategies employed globally to tackle the epidemic at this stage. It has also been recognized that because of the complex nature of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and its broad social and economic impact, every sector is affected and is vulnerable, thus a multi-sector approach is being used.
The transport sector, for example, has been shown to be one of the “transmitters” for HIV/AIDS. A clear focus is on the roads, which carry the majority of goods and people, targeting truckers, construction workers, migrant laborers, and sex workers at truck-stops. Seeking to address these issues, global partners signed an agreement to work towards mitigating the spread of HIV/AIDS for the infrastructure sectors. This Joint Initiative, signed in 2006, has encouraged development agencies to partner in their response to this global epidemic as it pertains to infrastructure. Please consult the Related Sites section of this page for additional information on individual and combined efforts in the region.
The Bank’s transport program in East Asia and Pacific (EAP) reviewed its projects to identify opportunities to address HIV/AIDS issues with an initial focus on new projects under preparation or recently started.
The preferred “model” for HIV/AIDS intervention is to support provider(s) (e.g., government agency, NGO, consultant, etc.) to deliver a consistent education program for the entire project. The focus is on mainstreaming simple – but effective – low cost information activities that can be readily implemented on transport projects using existing available resources. The recent mainstreaming of “HIV Clauses” into the Bank’s standard works bidding documents is helping with this effort.
To date the regional transport strategy has been implemented in the Hubei Shiman Highway Project in China, funded by Global HIV, and also on the Fifth Inland Waterways and Third Jiangxi Highway Projects in China and the Provincial and Rural Infrastructure Project in Cambodia, funded by an IDF Grant.
Additional funding is currently being sought to implement the strategy on other projects.