Ministry of Health releases Survey of Sexual Behavior Print E-mail
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Thursday, 29 November 2012 00:00

Belmopan, November 28th, 2012
The National HIV Programme of the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Central America (CDC) conducted a Behavioural Survey Study (BSS) earlier this year among three identified vulnerable groups, Men who have Sex with Men (MSM), Female Sex Workers (FSW) and Persons with HIV (PHIV).

The objectives of the survey were to document the behaviour risks associated to HIV in the three target groups, to determine the behaviour risks associated to HIV in the MSM and FSW groups and to determine the prevalence of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in the three studied groups.

The significant findings include the following:

•Overall consistent condom use was suboptimal and ranged from less than 70% in the MSM and PHIV to 81% in FSW.

•Knowledge of HIV transmission was also found to be suboptimal with 33% of FSW and 57% of the MSM.

•The majority of PHIV were from lower income levels.

•Prevalence of HIV among the MSM tested was 13.8% and 0.9% of the FSW tested. (compared with an estimated 2.3% in the general population)

•Genital Herpes and Chlamydia were the most common STIs diagnosed across the groups. The prevalence of Syphilis and Gonorrhea were lower when compared with the other Central American countries.

•Stigma and discrimination was highest in the community and workplace and estimated at 10% in the health sector.

The findings of this study have provided tangible evidence that can be used to improve the National Response to HIV in Belize.

The final report is scheduled for release in February 2013.