Like sexworkers, injecting drug-users, long-distance truck drivers and migrant workers, military personnel are considered a high risk group for HIV infection and HIV / AIDS has been identified by the United Nations as a key issue for the uniformed services. In the peacekeeping context, personnel are at high risk of both contracting HIV and transmitting the virus to host populations and the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) has been tasked with incorporating HIV / AIDS awareness and prevention strategies into its mission planning. Implementing such activities in post-conflict settings is, however, a complex and difficult undertaking. The issue is also a sensitive one and some troop-contributing countries perceive DPKO programmes as an attack on the integrity and reputation of their armed forces.
This paper examines the rationale for including HIV / AIDS issues on the peacekeeping agenda, DPKO's programmes for the peacekeepers and the particular challenges the Department faces, at both the political and operational levels.