- More Namibians are living up to the challenge to stop spread of HIV by getting tested for virus, with young people waiting longer to start sexual activity and use of condoms increasing, according to new 2006-07 Namibia Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) just released today.
Survey shows that at same time, HIV epidemic continues to ravage the population, adding that adult mortality has increased, and one in four children is orphaned or sharing households with very ill adults.
"Half of Namibian women have been tested for HIV compared to only 24 percent in 2000. Even more important, two-thirds of women who gave birth in last two years were tested and received their HIV results during antenatal care visits. This finding reflects Namibian government's concerted efforts to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the virus. Men are far less likely to be tested for HIV than women," report also stated.
It adds that another positive finding is that young men and women are delaying start of sexual activity.
Proportion of young men who said they had sex by age 15 declined from 31 percent in 2000 to 19 percent in 2006-07, similarly, proportion of men aged 18-19, starting sexual activity by age 18, has fallen from 74 to 61 percent, study shows, adding that same trend is occurring among women, but decline is slighter.
"Although higher-risk sex is still common, many more Namibians are using condoms to protect against HIV infection as well as pregnancy. Percentage of all Namibian women using condoms for family planning has increased dramatically from less than 1 percent in the 1992 to 9 percent in 2000 to 17 percent in 2006-07. Condom use is particularly high among sexually active women with no children. Half of sexually active women with no children who use contraceptives rely on condoms. Many more women are also purchasing condoms from shops rather than waiting to get them from clinics," survey states.
It goes on to indicate that despite these encouraging trends, AIDS epidemic is claiming many lives, with adult mortality increasing markedly since 2000, especially among women.
Female mortality has doubled, and male mortality has increased by 65 percent and deaths among women age 25 and above are considerably higher in 2006-07 than in 2000, report shows.
It adds that maternal mortality has also increased, although overall numbers are small.
It further says, "One in six children (17 percent) under age 18 has lost one or both parents, and another 11 percent are considered vulnerable because they live in households with very ill adults. Proportion of orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) increases with age from 15 percent among children age two to 40 percent among those age 15-17. OVC are less likely than other children to have their basic material needs met and are more likely to be underweight. They are as likely to be in school as other children, however."
The 2006-07 NDHS reportedly interviewed 9,800 women and 3,900 men age 15 to 49 nationwide.
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