Timor-Leste: HIV prevalence rate

Published: October 14, 2010

DILI, 14 October 2010 (IRIN) – HIV prevalence is low in Timor-Leste – 0.2 percent based on results from the latest surveillance by the government and World Health Organization (WHO). But this rate is rapidly increasing and most likely under-reported, according to the Health Ministry.

Data on “risky behaviours” is poor for groups considered at risk of HIV infection: surveys have been conducted of prisoners, military personnel, men who have sex with men (MSM) and female sex workers (FSW), but to date there has been no comprehensive nationwide survey of these groups.

A 2010 WHO and government survey of 181 female sex workers and 300 MSM revealed a 1.33 percent HIV infection rate among the men and 2.76 percent infection rate among the women, but the country has “little idea of just how many and where the MSM and FSW are”, said Narciso Fernandes, the Health Ministry’s national HIV/AIDS programme manager.

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