Young people leading drop in HIV spread in Rwanda: study

08:27, July 19, 2010      

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The prevalence of HIV/AIDS is falling among young Rwandans because they are having safer sex with fewer partners, the United Nations AIDS (UNAIDS)program said ahead of a major conference next week in Vienna, Rwanda News Agency reported on Saturday.

UNAIDS program said in a study that the main drivers of the reductions were changes in sexual behavior. Young Rwandans between 15-24 years were also said to be waiting longer before they become sexually active. In some cases, the young people were choosing to have fewer sexual partners, the report said.

Condom use was also on the increase, the study found.

However, the UNAIDS study said Rwanda, like other heavily affected countries, will have trouble in achieving the 25 percent reduction in HIV prevalence by the end of this year.

In a study published ahead a global AIDS conference due to be held in Vienna next week, UNAIDS found that in 16 of the 25 worst affected countries, rates of HIV had been falling among young people, with some of the most dramatic declines seen in Kenya, where there was a 60 percent change between 2000 and 2005.

In Rwanda, the HIV prevalence rate is estimated to be 3.1 percent according to the government's 2008 Demographic and Health Survey.

But health officials are concerned that not enough is being done to contain the pandemic among teenagers. A country-wide program involving various stakeholders was launched in February to tackle the rate of infection and increasing risky sexual behavior among teenagers.

According to the results of a National AIDS Control Commission behavioral survey conducted in 2000, only 10 percent of the country's sexually active youth use condoms.

Source: Xinhua


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