HIV and AIDS in Bangladesh|
Azim, Tasnim; Khan, Sharful Islam; Haseen, Fariha; Huq, Nafisa Lira; Henning, Lars; Pervez, Md. Moshtaq; Chowdhury, Mahbub Elahi & Sarafian, Isabelle
Bangladesh initiated an early response to the HIV epidemic starting in the mid-1980s. Since then, the res-ponse has been enhanced considerably, and many HIV-prevention interventions among the most at-risk populations and the general youth are being undertaken. Alongside prevention activities, gathering of data has been a key activity fostered by both the Government and individual development partners. This paper reviews available sources of data, including routine surveillance (HIV and behavioural among most at-risk populations), general population surveys, and various research studies with the aim to understand the dynamics of the HIV epidemic in Bangladesh. Available data show that the HIV epidemic is still at relatively low levels and is concentrated mainly among injecting drug users (IDUs) in Dhaka city. In addition, when the passively-reported cases were analyzed, another population group that appears to be especially vulnerable is migrant workers who leave their families and travel abroad for work. However, all sources of data confirm that risk behaviours that make individuals vulnerable to HIV are high-this is apparent within most at-risk populations and the general population (adult males and youth males and females). Based on the current activities and the sources of data, modelling exercises of the future of the HIV epidemic in Dhaka suggest that, if interventions are not enhanced further, Bangladesh is likely to start with an IDU-driven epidemic, similar to other neighbouring countries, which will then move to other population groups, including sex workers, males who have sex with males, clients of sex workers, and ultimately their families. This review reiterates the often repeated message that if Bangladesh wants to be an example of how to avert an HIV epidemic, it needs to act now using evidence-based programming.
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; HIV; Hijra; Injecting drug user; MSM; Risk behaviours; Sex worker; Sexually transmitted infections; Bangladesh