XVIII International AIDS Conference


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Prevalence and risk factors for HIV/AIDS infection for the displaced populations looking for international protection and host communities in San Lorenzo, Ecuador

W. Moya1, J. Benalcazar2, F. Tobar2, S. Tamayo2, E. Mina2, K. Ramirez2

1IOM, PRM Project, Quito, Ecuador, 2IOM Consultant, Quito, Ecuador

Background: The internal migration of Colombian populations toward the border of neighbouring countries due to violence is increasingly complex and of growing magnitude. Ecuador's National Programme aimed at Preventing HIV-AIDS-STI and IOM have joined efforts to carry out a survey with Colombian populations seeking international protection and with the native population of San Lorenzo.
Methodolgy: Descriptive, transversal, epidemiological research aimed at determining the prevalence of HIV; awareness, attitudes and practices of the population, in order to identify the risk factors of potentially becoming infected with HIV. Target population in the study corresponded to 300 males and females aged between 14 and 45 years old; surveys and screening tests were applied for HIV.
Outcomes: A more liberal sexual behaviour exists amongst Afro-Ecuadorian communities; 77% (both males and females) have had casual partners during the last 6 months; 56% do not use condoms during sexual intercourse. Early sexual relations begin, as an average, at 15. The people have minimal and incorrect HIV knowledge; they believe that insect bites can transmit the virus. A means of protection to prevent HIV infection is stated to be fidelity; however, the large majority fails to follow that practice. People are aware of the possibility of getting infected with HIV; however, they believe it is a matter of “destiny” and not risky sexual behaviours. Three HIV positive cases were diagnosed, 2 women and 1 man. Prevalence of HIV in San Lorenzo corresponds to 1% amongst the general public. Findings under another research performed by IOM during 2007-2008 included 220 pregnant women, with 5 of them being HIV positive, for a prevalence of 2.27%.
Conclusions: The HIV prevalence found indicates that there may be reason to be concerned about a growing HIV epidemic in San Lorenzo. Poverty, gender violence, early sexual activity are the triggering circumstances promoting the epidemics in this region.

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