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Impact of HIV / AIDS in Tanzania

Consequences of HIV / AIDS: Relationship between socio-economic and environmental aspects of the HIV / AIDS epidemic in the provinces of Kagera and Iringa in Tanzania.

The fact that HIV / AIDS has hit Africa hard is hardly a news, but it may be that the western parts of Tanzania were hit early, with several cases of AIDS found in the 1980s. In Africa, there have been a lot of studies on HIV / AIDS, how the disease is spread, what risk groups are and what can be done in preventive terms to reduce the spread (eg use of condoms).

Many of the researchers who have looked at HIV / AIDS are from medicine or anthropology / demography, and it has long been agreed that a loss of labor through disease must affect the possibilities of farming, and also that the natural vegetation can be affected (there are Stories about how all forests have been cut down to have tricky needles).

But few or no more quantitative studies of changes in environment and agriculture have been made, which has inspired this research project, which is a collaboration between nature and cultural geographers at Lund University.

By using satellite data from different archives, it is possible to map the spread of land use and vegetation types back to the 1970s, ie before HIV / AIDS had reached western Tanzania where Kagera Province is located. By looking at satellite images about 10 years apart, it is possible to follow changes in land use and vegetation over time, and the purpose of the project is to quantify land change of predominantly different types of agricultural land. In parallel, demographic and statistical analyzes are ongoing to describe population structures that indicate the level of HIV / AIDS in an area.

Preliminary results show that there is a change in land use from more complex and labor-intensive production systems, such as Banana / coffee for extensive cultivation of pile crops or open shrubs with scattered cultivation. This indicates that a high mortality rate in AIDS during the 1990s has had a major impact on both agricultural production and ecosystems in the area. The project is run as a collaboration between the Cultural Geographic Department and the ENES (GIS Center) and is funded by Sida-Sarec.

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Contact information

Ulrik Mårtensson

Phone: +46462224026
E-mail: ulrik.martensson [at]

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village view Tanzania

Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
Lund University
Sölvegatan 12
S-223 62 Lund