Bangladesh may be facing HIV epidemic, Inter Press Service reports

"Bangladesh has shown low HIV prevalence rates so far but may be silently moving towards an epidemic, say experts pointing to underreporting and poor monitoring for the virus in the general population," Inter Press Service reports. "Professionals and volunteers working in the HIV/AIDS field say there is no room for complacency and that Bangladesh may well be on the brink of an epidemic, going by continuing high levels of STDs alone," the news service writes, noting that while the country's last surveillance report, published in June 2011, "showed overall prevalence of HIV at 0.7 percent, there was a three percent prevalence of active syphilis, suggesting high rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)."

"[L]ow HIV prevalence, even among sex workers, has kept Bangladesh on track to achieving the United Nations millennium development goal that calls for halting of HIV transmission by 2015," the news service notes. "Leo Kenny, UNAIDS coordinator in Bangladesh, told IPS, 'We believe that the low prevalence in Bangladesh is largely due to early and timely intervention,'" the news service writes. "Other experts, however, argue that there is significant underreporting of cases because of the country's limited voluntary testing and counseling capacity and because of social stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS," IPS adds (Haq, 6/3).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


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