Published January, 2005

Military Personnel: On the Move and Vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and Other Infectious Diseases, Stuart J. Kingma & Rodger D. Yeager, Civil-Military Alliance to Combat HIV/AIDS (2005)

This white paper by the Civil-Military Alliance to Combat HIV & AIDS (CMA) discusses policy and operational issues regarding military personnel's vulnerability to HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. The military recruits members when they are between 15 and 25 years old -- the age group where over half of new infections occur -- and many service members are deployed to areas of the world with particularly high rates of infection. In addition, the authors cite several studies assessing the impact of military training and service on the health of persons living with HIV. Despite this increased risk, global HIV prevention and treatment efforts have failed to adequately target military populations where HIV rates remain higher than in civilian populations. Sub-Saharan countries in particular have struggled to demobilize and reintroduce active service members into civilian society.

The authors suggest several ways to reduce the incidence of HIV infection in military populations, including increased funding for peer sexual health education and condom promotion and provisions. They stress the importance of adhering to confidentiality and informed consent standards regardless of whether testing is compulsory or voluntary. Civil-military and inter-military cooperation is key; shared campaigns, facilities, and testing and treatment resources have proven effective in preventing and managing HIV, particularly in developing countries.