"); NewWindow.document.close(); return false; }

Gov't says HIV prevalence stabilising
Friday 5 November 2004
Home About PlusNews Country Profiles News Briefs Special Reports Subscribe Archive IRINnews


East Africa
Great Lakes
Horn of Africa
Southern Africa
West Africa
RSS - News Briefs


PlusNews E-mail Subscription

ERITREA: Gov't says HIV prevalence stabilising

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


NAIROBI, 21 October (PLUSNEWS) - The HIV prevalence in Eritrea has shown a slight decline over the past few years and appears to have stabilised, with survey results showing that the unweighted national prevalence rate has fallen from 2.8 percent in 2001 to 2.4 percent last year, a government official told PlusNews on Tuesday.

"We have adopted a multi-sectoral approach to prevention that involves communities, the private sector, United Nations agencies and other bilateral organizations," Andeberhan Tesfazion, the director of the Eritrean National HIV/AIDS/STI and TB Control Divison (NATCoD) said. "Every partner is guided by the national plan."

According to the findings of an HIV surveillance report conducted by the Ministry of Health in all six zones of Eritrea between April and July 2003, prevalence rates were highest in the Southern Red Sea (7.2 percent) and Maekel (3.6 percent) zones. It said women aged 20 to 24 and 25 to 29 years had higher-than-average rates of infection, and prevalence was higher among pregnant women in urban areas than those in rural areas.

"Overall HIV prevalence appears to be stabilising," the report said. "Thus far, the country has been able to avoid a full-scale epidemic in rural areas."

Before the 2003 assessment, a number of attempts to generate data had been made. The report said in 1994, an HIV surveillance activity carried out in the capital city, Asmara, indicated a prevalence of three percent, while another study in 1997 among pregnant women found a rate of two percent. In 2001, the Health Ministry conducted another survey which found a prevalence rate of 2.8 percent.

"One of the factors that has helped stabilise the prevalence is government commitment and coordination," Andeberhan said. "As a sign of that commitment, we have been able to get a US $40 million soft loan from the World Bank - the greater part for HIV/AIDS and STIs [sexually transmitted infections]. We have also developed a communication strategy that is leading to behavioural change," he added.

The first AIDS case in Eritrea was reported in 1988. By 2001, more than 13,000 people had been registered as infected. About 2,500 of these cases were reported in 2001 alone. Since then, the government has embarked on programmes to fight the epidemic including setting up "free-standing" HIV testing facilities.

It also established the NATCoD to coordinate and improve the treatment and management of the various diseases. Eritrea has since built a new national blood bank in Asmara and has developed a life-skills curriculum for schools, which encompasses AIDS education. Radio and television, as well as posters and leaflets, have been used extensively around the country.


Recent ERITREA Reports
Focus - Eritrea tackles AIDS,  10/Jul/02
UN peacekeepers providing AIDS awareness training,  4/Jun/02
Focus on rapid expansion of HIV/AIDS,  9/May/02
UN initiative targets HIV/AIDS among soldiers,  18/Oct/01
VIH Internet
Sida Info Services
Le Fonds mondial de lutte contre le SIDA, la tuberculose et le paludisme
Le Réseau Afrique 2000

PlusNews does not take responsibility for info in links supplied.

[Back] [Home Page]

Click to send any feedback, comments or questions you have about IRIN's Website or if you prefer you can send an Email to

The material contained on this Web site comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post any item on this site, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. All graphics and Images on this site may not be re-produced without the express permission of the original owner. All materials copyright © UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2004