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
May 2000 and August 2001[pdf] in four
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.
The UNDP has worked in partnership with the Gambia Government to
combat HIV/AIDS for over 10 years and it helped to put awareness
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
UNGASS Report, 2005