Practical Solutions for Keeping HIV/AIDS Off the Job Site


What does HIV/AIDS have to do with road construction?

  • The concentration of men (single and married) living away from their families at road construction sites
  • Often the forms of entertainment available to workers on-site involve alcohol, gambling and sex
  • The extent of the demand for sex work this generates is such that some brothel owners are known to follow different construction companies from one site to another

Transport construction projects can significantly increase the number and frequency of men buying sex, and this is a key factor in determining the extent of HIV spread.

HIV Prevalence Prior to and Post Construction or Improvement of Transport Corridors
Highway Routes HIV Prevalence Before HIV Prevalence After
Myanmar, 1997 Injecting drug users HIV+, 1996 Injecting drug users HIV+, 1998
Mandalay 51% 88%
Lashio 34% 74%
Muse 86% 92%
China, 1996 # of HIV+ cases, 1995 # of HIV+ cases, 1998
Yunnan-Nanning, Guangxi 10 525
Viet Nam, 1998 # of HIV+ cumulative cases, 1997 # of HIV+ cumulative cases, 1998
Hanoi 51–100 101–1,000
Hai Phong 0–50 101–1,000
Ho Chi Min City >1,000 >1,000

Notes: 1996 data is in percentage and changed to cumulative case numbers for 1997 and 1998. Although the estimates might not reflect the real levels of HIV infection, the changes over time are significant. Activity for China and Myanmar is the construction of the road, while for Viet Nam, it describes road improvements.

Facts and figures

Yunnan Province

13,118 Deaths
70,477 Living with HIV, including
22,906 Cases of people with HIV infection
4,603 Cases reported in the first 5 months of 2010

Guangxi Province

10,858 Deaths
57,356 Living with HIV, including
17,290 Cases full-blown AIDS
6,668 Cases reported in the first 6 months of 2010 (76% sexually transmitted)


The views expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Asian Development Bank, its management, its Board of Directors, or its members.

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