The purpose of this synthesis is to report on comprehensive reviews of the extensive literature on HIV/AIDS, which identified key knowledge gaps for the transport sector in eastern and southern Africa. The five countries covered in this synthesis of the literature - Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa and Zimbabwe - face severe and growing crises as a result of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. According to recent estimates, South Africa and Zimbabwe are ranked among African countries with the 'highest' adult HIV prevalence while Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are in the 'very high' category. HIV/AIDS has been declared a 'national disaster' by the respective governments.
Given the dominance of road transport in eastern and southern Africa, the transport-community interface represents an important area for research on local responses to HIV/AIDS, since HIV transmission is not only confined to the transit corridors, but its impact necessarily spreads to the surrounding rural areas. This is explained by the fact that, on the one hand, residents along transport corridors and other areas of transport operations trade with rural traders, truckers and other passing traffic. On the other hand, truck drivers, their assistants, other transport operators as well as workers in the road construction and maintenance settlements, leave their families in the villages and come back regularly to visit and sexually interact with them. Interaction between these individuals and groups forms the main axis of HIV/AIDS transmission.
The literature reviews summarised in this report explored the following key question: How are communities (and their institutions) along transit corridors and other areas of intensive transport operations responding to the threat of HIV/AIDS?