At least 32 per cent of Rwandans still believe HIV/Aids can be transmitted through mosquito bites, according to the Rwanda Aids Indicator Survey (RAIS) report.
The 2013 preliminary report was presented by the Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) at the 2014 International HIV Research Conference that concluded last week in Kigali.
It also shows that one third of the respondents did not agree that HIV can be prevented through faithfulness.
“The content of the report is an indication that a lot moreneeds to be done as far as sensitization is concerned,” said Nathan Mugume, the Head of the Rwanda Health Communication Centre.
The survey, which targeted women aged 15-49 and men between 15 and 59, also points out that only 50 per cent of the people have knowledge of ARVs as long life therapy. The survey involved 14,298 people.
It also indicates that 77 per cent of Rwandans are aware of the role male circumcision plays in reducing the risk of HIV/Aids infection.
“We also found out that 97.8 per cent of the respondents had knowledge of where to get an HIV test, and 82.1 per cent admitted to have ever been tested for HIV,” said Dr Jean Pierre Nyemazi, one of the lead consultants.
The survey shows that HIV prevalence stood at 3.5 per cent and 2.1 per cent among females and males respectively and that the prevalence was highest among those between 40 and 44 years who accounted for 7.2 per cent of the prevalence rate.
“The prevalence was also highest among widows/widowers with 13.8 per cent, followed by the divorced with 9 per cent. It also stood out more in urban areas with 4.5 per cent, compared to 2 per cent in rural areas. Kigali city led with 6 per cent, followed by the Western Province that registered 3.1 per cent,” noted Augustin Mulindabigwi, a study co-coordinator with RBC.
The survey also indicates that prevalence by education level is highest among those with vocational level qualification standing at 5.6 per cent, followed by the illiterates with 4.0 per cent and those with higher level of education come third with 3.1 per cent.
Among the strategies the country has adopted to reduce infections is stepping up the circumcision campaign.
About 700,000 men are expected to undergo non-surgical male circumcision by 2016 according to the Ministry of Health.
According to Unaids, the HIV transmission from mother to child has reduced from 9 per cent in 2003 to 1 per cent in 2013 at health facility level.
And the incidence of mortality and morbidity due to HIV/Aids has reduced by 3 per cent in the last ten years.
HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, having claimed more than 39 million lives so far, according to WHO statistics.
In 2013, 1.5 million people died from HIV-related causes globally. There were approximately 35.0 million people living with HIV at the end of 2013. Sub-Saharan Africa is the most affected region, with 24.7 million people living with the virus by 2013.