Hiv/Aids in Cameroon

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HIV/AIDS in CAMEROON
Abstract
Almost three decades after its discovery, HIV infection remains the number one killer disease in Sub-Saharan Africa where up to 2 million people are still living with the virus. In Cameroon, a health survey carried out in 2004 estimated the national prevalence at 5.5% with women and youths being predominantly infected. Orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) from HIV/AIDS have been on the rise in recent years. This high prevalence rate is also due to the country’s lack of a system that observes records and disseminates reports on new cases of HIV and AIDS. The surveillance system used in Cameroon is based on international standards because they are yet to develop a system of their own. Outbreaks easily go unnoticed as a result of the utilization of poor surveillance systems. Consequently, fear of HIV/AIDS has caused a sense of deliberate ignorance in the attitude of the general population. This results in people not wanting to know about their HIV status probably because of fear of stigmatization. In one decade, 1987 to 1998, the number of persons in a population who tested positive for HIV rose from 0,5% to 7.2%. Between the year 1985 and 2002, the disease accounted for up to 53000 deaths where 210,000 orphans and one million people living with HIV. As a whole, women were more vulnerable with statistic displaying three infected women to every two infected men. A demographic Health Survey that was carried out in Cameroon around same time frame pointed out that the HIV virus was primarily infecting youths and women. Commercial sex workers alongside with other borderline groups such as men who have sex with men (MSM) and injecting drug users are often labeled as 'high risk group ' for HIV/AIDS. Whether or not commercial sex workers are the driving force behind the high HIV/AIDS prevalence in the country is still a debate of interest. Sensitization to the adverse effects of HIV/AIDS in Cameroon has been an



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