HIV AIDS in Burma: Public Health Constrained

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Introduction

Burma’s [Myanmar] HIV/AIDS epidemic (Beyrer et al. 2006a) has been relatively similar to its Southeast Asian neighbors, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Much less is known about HIV/AIDS in Burma, however, compared to the other relatively well-studied outbreaks in Southeast Asia. This is the case largely because Burma remains a closed and tightly controlled society under what the social scientist Christina Fink (2001) has called “the living silence” of protracted military rule. The marked under-funding of the health system, and of public health in particular, by the various ruling military juntas which have controlled political life in the country since 1962 has further undermined efforts to understand and respond to the epidemic.

The ruling junta has restricted the activities of international organizations, including the several United Nations (U.N.) agencies active in the country, making it difficult for the international community to bridge the many information and service