Environmental Conservation

Comment

Is HIV/AIDS jeopardizing biodiversity?

DYLAN KENNETH MCGARRYa1 c1 and CHARLIE MICHAEL SHACKLETONa1

a1 Department of Environmental Science, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa

SUMMARY

The scourge of HIV/AIDS (human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is most prevalent in southern Africa. South Africa has the highest number of people in the world living with HIV/AIDS and a prevalence rate of over 30 % for females presenting at antenatal clinics. There are now almost five million orphans within southern Africa, as a result of AIDS deaths of one or more or their parents. AIDS-related mortality and morbidity of care-givers may lead to increased reliance on wild sources of animal protein by surviving children. This increase in hunting pressure has unknown, but potentially important impacts on local animal populations.