Prevention of HIV - AIDS in Bangladesh
HIV / AIDS: Bangladesh Situation
UNAIDS estimated that approximately 11,000 Bangladeshis were living with HIV at the end of 2006. While HIV prevalence rates are still relatively low, HIV infection rates are increasing, as indicated by a threefold increase in the last six years. HIV prevalence amongst the most vulnerable populations is still below 1% (.9%); however, injecting drug users (IDUs) in Central Bangladesh have far exceeded the 1% threshold, achieving the status of a concentrated epidemic.With the rapid spread of HIV amongst IDUs and continued risky behavior patterns amongst high-risk groups, Bangladesh is not far removed from a widespread and devastating epidemic.
National survey data indicates that HIV incidence among IDUs in Dhaka (central Bangladesh) jumped from 1.4% in 2001 to 4.9% in 2005, with prevalence rates as high as 8.9% in one location in Dhaka. Nearly 70% of IDUs in Central Bangladesh routinely share needles: a rate comparable to countries enduring much more severe epidemics. IDUs are also at a serious risk of spreading the disease into the general population as they sell their blood to blood banks and visit commercial sex workers. One out of five IDUs engage in commercial sex and fewer than one in ten reported consistent condom use during paid sex.
Bangladesh has a substantial commercial sex industry, claiming the highest client turn-over rate in South Asia. Prevalence among sex workers remains low at less than 1%; however, 82% of Bangladeshi sex workers report also selling sex in India or Myanmar, countries with much higher HIV rates. Consistent condom use during paid sex is rare. Depending on the region, between 0% and 12% of sex workers reported using condoms with new clients. Currently, though the prevalence rates of syphilis among female sex workers have decreased and are now less than 10% in most areas of Bangladesh.
Results from a national baseline survey led by Save the Children and funded by GFATM highlighted serious misconceptions related to the transmission and prevention of HIV/AIDS among young people. Only 2.2% of males and 1.1% of females perceived themselves at risk of contracting HIV, while survey results showed risky sexual behavior and low condom use to be common among the same youth.
How is HIV passed from person to person?
HIV is found in body fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal fluids and breastmilk. It is passed from one person to another
- or transmitted - only in very specific ways. These are:
♣ through sexual intercourse between a man and a woman or between two men;
♣ through infected blood - for example through contaminated blood transfusions or unsterilised needles and syringes. ( In most places today blood transfusions are completely safe because the blood is tested for HIV before it is used to treat patients); and
♣ from an infected mother to her baby while it is still in the womb or during childbirth or during breastfeeding.
HIV does not spread through "casual" everyday contact between people.
It is not transmitted by coughing, or sneezing, or by touching or hugging someone who has the virus.
It is not spread in air, water or in food, or by sharing cups, bowls, cutlery,clothing, or toilet seats.
And HIV is not transmitted by biting insects such as mosquitoes, because the quantity of blood on their mouthparts is too minute.
How can HIV be passed on by infected blood?
If blood from a person infected by HIV gets into the blood stream of another person, it will infect them also with the HIV. This can happen:
♣ If contaminated instruments are used to pierce the skin during:
♣ ear piercing
Infection can be prevented if the equipment used is brand new, or is carefully sterilised each time it is used.
From a blood transfusion with infected blood
Blood transfusions may be necessary
♣ after a bad accident, if someone has lost a lot of blood;
♣ during a hospital operation;
♣ after childbirth, if the mother has lost much blood; or
♣ if a person is anaemic due to bilharzia, hookworm or malaria parasites.
If the blood or equipment used is contaminated with HIV, this will be transmitted to the person receiving the blood, and so they will also become infected. All equipment used for blood transfusions should be sterilised before it is used. In some countries all blood which has been donated is tested for HIV infection, and only non-infected blood is used. More and more countries are now trying to do this.
There is no risk in donating blood if the equipment is new or properly sterilised.
In addition to the risk of infection from sexual contact, HIV can be transmitted through transfusion with HIV-infected blood or blood products, or from a needle stick injury involving a needle used by an HIV-infected person. The most common form of transmission of HIV by needles occurs when persons using illegal injecting drugs share needles. It is also possible to become infected when infected blood, or a bodily fluid containing infected blood, comes in contact with mucous membranes or skin that is broken or open. Universal precautions have been recommended for anyone who might come in contact with blood or body fluids.
These precautions apply also to body fluids that contain blood and to certain body fluids that are not generally found outside the body, for example, vaginal secretions, semen, and cerebrospinal fluid. Bodily fluids to which universal precautions do not apply (unless blood is present in them) include feces, tears, sputum, saliva, nasal secretions, vomitus, and urine. However, these fluids can contribute to the spread of infections other than HIV, so some precautions should be taken in handling them.