A Story Within a Story: ADB Works to Prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections and Human Trafficking in Afghanistan


In 2007, ADB funded the rehabilitation of two roads running through the remotest areas of Afghanistan - the 140-kilometer Mazar-e-Sharif–Dara-i-Suf stretch and the 99-kilometer link between Bamiyan–Yakawlang.  To mitigate the risks that come with roads – such as the spread of sexually transmitted infections– ADB developed an awareness campaign.
This publication talks about the positive impact of the $550,000 campaign on preventing HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections, as well as human trafficking in Afghanistan. The program operated along the North-South Corridor of the country from December 2010 to July 2011.
The project had to overcome many obstacles, such as the lack of accurate figures on HIV-positive cases and low literacy rates, which has hindered HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. But despite these obstacles, the project was successful in reaching over 9,500 people during its 8 months of operation. The health centers that were set up near construction sites served over 3,000 visitors by providing counseling, diagnosis, and treatment.
A Story Within a Story also relates the experience of the people served by the project.  After attending a health education session, a truck driver said that he learned for the first time that using a condom is not against Islam and can be used as protection against sexually transmitted infections. “I am going to tell other workers and drivers,” he said.