Rwanda to release new data on HIV prevalence

Rwanda is set to release new data on HIV/AIDS prevalence in the country, the ministry of health has said.

According to officials, a nationwide survey that has been carried out since October 2018 will publish results before December 2.

Dubbed the Rwanda Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (RPHIA) the survey aimed to establish new infections, the number of people living with HIV, and viral load suppression among adults and adolescent children.

Viral load suppression is a count of how much HIV virus is in the blood and can show if treatment is being used effectively.

The survey is a joint project by the Ministry of Health through the Rwanda Biomedical Centre and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning through the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) in coordination with ICAP at Columbia University and the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

During the survey, researchers visited approximately 10,800 randomly selected households and collect demographic, clinical, and behavioural information from consenting participants.

The staff also performed HIV and hepatitis B and C testing.

The study also sought to measure the reach and impact of Rwanda’s HIV prevention, care, and treatment services across the country.

Officials said that the data collected is expected to provide critical insights on the successes and challenges Rwanda faces in confronting the HIV epidemic.

Dr. Diane Gashumba, the Minister of Health said that the results of the survey will be released ahead of the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) due to take place on December 2, in Kigali.

The ICASA conference is the biggest AIDS conference in Africa.

“Results definitely will be published before the conference,” she said.

Available data shows that the HIV prevalence in Rwanda is at 3 per cent in the general population (15-49 years), 4 per cent among women and 2 per cent among men.

The HIV prevalence is highest in the Kigali where it is 6.3 per cent and is relatively uniform throughout the other provinces (2 per cent to 3 per cent).

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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