Survey finds HIV/AIDS a serious problem in Niger

Niamey- Niger (PANA) -- At least 60 percent of people sampled in a survey in Niger recognised the HIV/AIDS pandemic as the most serious public health problem in the country after Malaria, Meningitis and Measles.
The survey, conducted by the Care International as part of a "Wake Up Africa" HIV/AIDS campaign in Niger, sought to determine the level of knowledge, attitudes and basic practices related to HIV among urban populations.
About 60 per cent of those sampled were capable of citing two means of reducing the risk of HIV infection, such as having only one sexual partner (77 percent in Niamey), 91 percent in Tahoua and 60 percent in Maradi) and use of the condom (72 percent in Niamey, 65 percent in Tahoua, 60 per cent in Maradi).
Nearly 58 per cent of people surveyed admitted having had sexual intercourse during their life, but only 16.
9 per cent of the sample admitted using a condom the last time they had sexual intercourse.
About a thousand new AIDS cases were reported by 31 December 2000, bringing Niger's total to 5,600 cases, according to the National AIDS Control Programme (PNLS) - a situation the ministry of Health found worrying.
Figures advanced by UNAIDS and WHO in 1997 were even higher, standing at 27,000 AIDS cases, 25,000 deaths and 20,000 children orphaned by the pandemic in Niger.
Studies conducted in Niger put the rate of infection as ranging from 1 to 15 percent and more, depending on the age group.
A media campaign dubbed "Africa Wake up" involving private radio stations is underway in the country at the initiative the Academy for Education Development (AED) and the USAID Regional family health and AIDS prevention programme.
Designed to last six months, the campaign is aimed at sensitising the populations, particularly youths, on the use of the condom, the promotion of faithfulness, the acceptance of AIDS sufferers and voluntary screening for the virus.

15 june 2001 18:58:00

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