|Statistics fortunately show that HIV/AIDS has not
hit as hard in The Gambia as in other parts of Africa after the
first case was diagnosed in the country in 1986.
HIV/AIDS prevalence among adults aged (15 to 49) in The
Gambia is 1.8% [1.5% - 2.2%] (2015 est. unaids.org). Results
from the sentinel studies have firmly established that HIV1 is
now the main virus driving the epidemic in The Gambia; whilst
HIV2 seems to be on the decline. Like in most of sub-Saharan Africa
heterosexual intercourse is the main mode of HIV transmission.
The first round of the National Sentinel Surveillance for HIV
among antenatal women was conducted between May 2000 and August
2001[pdf] in four health facilities, namely Serrekunda, Sibanor,
Farafenni and Basse. The number of sentinel sites was later increased
to six in 2002 (adding Brikama and Kuntaur) and eight in 2005
(adding Essau and Soma).
The 2004 sentinel surveillance data indicated that HIV1 prevalence
amongst 15 to 49 year old pregnant women has increased at most
sites. There is limited data on prevalence among high-risk groups,
including sex workers who had a prevalence of 14% for HIV1 in
1993 and 28% in 1993. Furthermore, lack of data on the prevalence
of HIV in other key groups such as uniformed personnel, long distance
truck drivers, fishermen, etc. may mask the true extent of HIV
infection rates in the Gambia.
The UNDP has worked in partnership with
the Gambia Government to combat
HIV/AIDS for over 10 years and it helped to put awareness of the
disease on the national agenda through the National AIDS Control
Programme (NACP). The main aim of the project is to assist policy
development and reinforce partnerships and national capacities
in a sustainable way that alleviates not just HIV but also poverty.
A National AIDS Secretariat was established,
and being supported by the World Bank.
The aids awareness campaign involves billboards, aids prevention
messages during strategic TV programmes, workshops, seminars and
the production of educational materials targeted at all sections
of Gambian society.
Today between 35-50 youth and women's groups are supported through
Because of the engagement of local musicians
and NGOs in the project's execution there is a higher level of
awareness in the public at large and particularly among youth
groups about the the causes and consequences of HIV/AIDS and STDS.
UNGASS Report, 2005