WHO warns United Nations (UN) employees
In 1991, WHO published a small booklet on AIDS and HIV infection: information for UN employees and their families.i Along with warnings about sex risks, WHO advised UN employees “living or traveling in areas where the level of medical care is uncertain” to beware and avoid unsafe health care:
“The WHO medical kit contains…disposable syringes and needles in case staff members need to have blood taken or to receive an injection or vaccination…”
“If you carry your own needles and syringes, make sure they are the ones used on you… [A]void having injections unless they are absolutely necessary…”
“Avoid tattooing and ear piercing. Avoid any procedures that pierce the skin, such as acupuncture and dental work, unless they are genuinely necessary. Before submitting to any treatment that may give an entry point to HIV, ask whether the instruments to be used have been properly sterilized.”
WHO and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) have revised and reissued this booklet multiple times in subsequent years.ii The 2004 revision assures special, safe care for UN employees:iii
“In several regions, unsafe blood collection and transfusion practices and the use of contaminated syringes account for a notable share of new infections. Because we are UN employees, we and our families are able to receive medical services in safe healthcare settings, where only sterile syringes and medical equipment are used, eliminating any risk to you of HIV transmission as a result of health care.”
This website extends WHO’s and UNAIDS’ warnings to you
It’s unfortunate that WHO and UNAIDS have not similarly warned Africans to avoid blood-to-blood contact. Timely warnings linked to outbreak investigations might have stopped Africa’s HIV epidemics long ago. In 1988, WHO estimated only 2.5 million Africans living with HIV. The epidemic could have been stopped right there.
i Quote from p. 23 in: WHO. AIDS and HIV infection: information for United Nations employees and their families. Doc no. WHO/GPA/DIR/91.9. Geneva: WHO, 1991. This document was formerly available from WHO archives at: http://whqlibdoc.who.int/hq/1991/WHO_GPA_DIR_91.9.pdf (accessed 7 January 2011); however, it is no longer available without specific permission from WHO (according to these procedures; accessed 28 September 2015).
ii UNAIDS. AIDS and HIV Infection: Information for United Nations employees and their families. Document number: UNAIDS/99.31E (English original, June 1999), 1st revision, April 2000. Geneva: UNAIDS, 2000. Available at: http://www.unhcr.org/406d65b24.pdf (accessed 28 September 2015).
iii Quote from p. 9 in: UNAIDS, Living in a World with HIV and AIDS: Information for employees of the UN system and their families. Doc no: UNAIDS/04.27E, English original, July 2004; first revised reprint December 2004) Geneva: UNAIDS, 2004Available at: http://data.unaids.org/Publications/IRC-pub06/jc975-livinginworldaids_en.pdf (accessed 27 September 2015).