Mauritius launches HIV-related survey among homosexuals

Port Louis, Mauritius (PANA) - The Mauritius National AIDS Secretariat Tuesday launched an Integrated Biological and Behavioral Survey (IBBS) among men who have sex with men or homosexuals as part of its HIV surveillance plan, PANA learnt from the Prime Minister’s Office in Port Louis.

The anonymous survey, carried out every two years, studies the impact of measures that are being implemented in a bid to reduce the transmission of HIV.

This second such survey being undertaken will last at least a month.

One official from the Secretariat told PANA that the survey would provide information on the prevalence of HIV infection and associated risk factors among homosexuals.

''It will also monitor epidemic trends,'' he said, adding that the finding would identify gaps in existing programmes and help inform the development of long-term intervention and prevention strategies responsive to the needs of homosexuals in Mauritius.

''The respondents will, after interview, provide blood specimens to be tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C and syphilis,'' the official said.

He observed that HIV transmission within the male-to-male sexual relationships is of growing concern in Mauritius.

''Similar to many countries, homosexuals remain hidden and are difficult to reach for HIV prevention purposes due to social stigma and discrimination,'' he said.

In 2010, this survey revealed that 8 per cent of homosexuals in Mauritius were HIV positive, 14.2 per cent tested positive for Hepatitis C virus and 5 per cent for syphilis.

Officially, about 8,000 people are living with HIV in Mauritius.
-0- PANA NA/SEG 9Oct2012

09 أكتوبر 2012 09:02:52

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