Recent studies have found that the incidence of AIDS and HIV is much lower in Eritrea than in some of the neighboring countries in East Africa. It is possible that exposure to the virus was minimized because Eritrea's borders were closed during the thirty year war against Ethiopia. However, prostitution flourished during wartime and became the primary mode of HIV transmission. With peace in Eritrea, the two major ports on the Red Sea are open again, and more travelers are passing through, opening the door to higher rates of HIV infection.

Eritrea is one of Africa's poorest countries with very limited resources for testing and educating about AIDS. The latest statistics show that one in four prostitutes and one in four truck drivers tested positive for HIV in Asmara, the capitol city.