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The need for comprehensive response to HIV/AIDS epidemic in conflict- affected populations: Evidence from a sero-prevalence survey in Somaliland

Elgizoli Ismail, World Health Organization (WHO)
Ekanem E Ekanem, University of Lagos
Said Deq
Peter Arube, World Health Organization (WHO)
Michael Gboun, UNAIDS

The prolonged civil strife in Somaliland has hampered the development of social infrastructure and public health services.There has been very limited data on HIV/AIDS. In 2004, the World Health Organization,in collaboration with Somaliland Authorities and UN Agencies conducted a sentinel HIV sero-prevalence survey.Using a UAT procedure, blood samples were collected from 1561 ANC attendants, 249 TB and 243 STD patients. Samples were tested for syphilis by RPR and for HIV-1/2 with Cappilus and Determine. The survey showed a median HIV prevalence of 1.4% (95% CI, 0.9 – 2.1). Among young women 15-24 years, the prevalence was 1.7%. HIV prevalence among STD and TB patients was 12.3% and 5.6% respectively. Conclusion: The survey has revealed a HIV prevalence far higher than what is observed in other MENA countries. HIV/AIDS interventions should be vigorously incorporated into developmental/rehabilitation efforts planned for this conflict ridden population before the epidemic escalates.

Presented in Session 63: Populations in conflict situations