The Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS) recent demographic and Health survey (2019 to 2020) has shown that fifty-five percent of Women in Kuntaur in Central River Region North, and Sixty-Seven percent of Men, have the lowest knowledge about the human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV).
The survey further showed that sixty-six percent of women and seventy-four percent of men age 15 and 49 know that the risk of getting HIV can be reduced by using Sonoma and limiting sex to one uninfected partner.
The survey also revealed that most women and less than half of the men know that HIV can be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy.
“Having multiple sexual partners increases the risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), less than one percent and 10 percent of men aged 15-49 have two or more sexual partners in 12 months before the survey.” The survey stated.
However, the survey added that among men with two or more sexual partners, 26 percent reported using a condom at their last sexual intercourse.
HIV Testing in The Gambia:
The survey showed that seven in ten women (70%) and men (69%) know where to get an HIV test. Thirty-nine percent of women and 25% of men have ever been tested for HIV and received the results.
Moreover, the survey suggested that within the past 12 months, 13% of women and 9% of men tested and received their results. “There has been little change since 2013 in the percent of women and men aged 15-49 tested for HIV and received results in the 12 months before this survey.”
Finally, the survey indicated that forty-three percent of pregnant women with a live birth in the two years before the survey received counseling on HIV, an HIV test, and ANC results.
People living with HIV in the country
In The Gambia, HIV prevalence in the general population was 1.9% among adults (male and female) 15-49 years, according to the 2013 DHS. However, the prevalence among pregnant women attending antenatal clinics was reported as 1.82%, according to the 2017 National Sentinel Surveillance (NSS).
The most recent (2018) Integrated Bio-Behavioral Surveillance Study (IBBS) among female sex workers (FSW) and men who have sex with men (MSM) in the Greater Banjul and neighboring areas estimates an HIV prevalence among FSW of 11% and MSM 35.5%.
The HIV prevalence among FSW has decreased by 4.9 percentage points, from 15.9% in 2011 down to 11% in 2018. It increased more than three-fold among MSM from 9.8% in 2011 to 35.5% in 2018