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Gambia HIV / Aids
 
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Statistics fortunately show that HIV/AIDS has not hit as hard in The Gambia as in other parts of Africa after the first case was diagnosed in the country in 1986.


Whilst the HIV/AIDS prevalence among the young & adults (15 to 49) in The Gambia is categorized as low at 2% (2009 UNICEF est.). Results from the sentinel studies have firmly established that HIV1 is now the main virus driving the epidemic in The Gambia; whilst HIV2 seems to be on the decline. Like in most of sub-Saharan Africa heterosexual intercourse is the main mode of HIV transmission.



The first round of the National Sentinel Surveillance for HIV among antenatal women was conducted between May 2000 and August 2001[pdf] in four health facilities, namely Serrekunda, Sibanor, Farafenni and Basse. The number of sentinel sites was later increased to six in 2002 (adding Brikama and Kuntaur) and eight in 2005 (adding Essau and Soma).

The 2004 sentinel surveillance data indicated that HIV1 prevalence amongst 15 to 49 year old pregnant women has increased at most sites. There is limited data on prevalence among high-risk groups, including sex workers who had a prevalence of 14% for HIV1 in 1993 and 28% in 19993. Furthermore, lack of data on the prevalence of HIV in other key groups such as uniformed personnel, long distance truck drivers, fishermen, etc. may mask the true extent of HIV infection rates in the Gambia.






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The UNDP has worked in partnership with the Gambia Government to combat HIV/AIDS for over 10 years and it helped to put awareness of the disease on the national agenda through the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP). The main aim of the project is to assist policy development and reinforce partnerships and national capacities in a sustainable way that alleviates not just HIV but also poverty. A National AIDS Secretariat was established, and being supported by the World Bank.

The aids awareness campaign involves billboards, aids prevention messages during strategic TV programmes, workshops, seminars and the production of educational materials targeted at all sections of Gambian society.

Today between 35-50 youth and women's groups are supported through the campaign.

Because of the engagement of local musicians and NGOs in the project's execution there is a higher level of awareness in the public at large and particularly among youth groups about the the causes and consequences of HIV/AIDS and STDS.


*Data Sources:
UNGASS Report, 2005
Unicef
Unaids
World Bank





   
   









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