A survey on HIV within Cameroon’s Defence Forces in 2018 indicates a 3.3 reduction rate.
The result is lower than the national average rate of 3.4 per cent according to author Seroprevalence and Behavioural Risk Survey (SABERS),
The statistics made public on July 18, at a ceremony presided over by the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Defence in charge of Veterans and War Victims, Koumpa Issa, also indicated a consistent decline from 2005 when the rate hit 11.3 per cent.
The 2018 HIV Sero-prevalence and Behavioural Risk Survey in the Cameroon Defence Forces were carried out from July 17 to August 10, 2018.
The study was done by the Directorate of the Military Health of Defence of Cameroon with technical support from its partner METABIOTA Cameroon and the National Committee for the Fight against AIDS (CNLS), at the Ministry of Public Health.
Speaking at the event, Koumpa Issa, said the Ministry of Defence was the first sector to start the HIV programme in Cameroon in 1990.
“This should serve as a model for other sectors and has greatly contributed to the development of national and regional policies in the sector.”
Most studies in Cameroon focus on the general population without special attention to the defence forces.
The defence forces by nature of their profession face specific risk factors of HIV, an epidemic that could compromise their operational capacity.
Previous studies conducted among Cameroon’s Defence Forces showed different prevalence rates. In 2012 the HIV prevalence rate was 9.8 per cent, 11.3 per cent in 2005 and 6.0 per cent in 2011.
But, the 2018 study will update the data in the defence sector take into account the current situation of HIV infection in intervention programmes.
The 2018 results of the study reveal an overall HIV prevention prevalence rate of 3.3 percent among male defence forces and 3.4 percent among female.
The study conducted with funding from PEPFAR through the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention Programme (DHAPP), of the Department of Defence of the United States of America.
The importance of the study is to provide credible data on the HIV infection situation in the Cameroon Defence Forces in 2018, and assesses the positive impact on the infection prevention and management efforts by the Cameroonian Defence Forces and its partners.
The military of defence said they have been able to identify its infected staff; and 90 % of those diagnosed have been put under effective antiretroviral medication.