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Sexual behaviour and HIV prevalence among the deaf population in Cameroon
Presented by Adonis Touko, Cameroon.
A. Touko1, A. Perrot2, P. Tohmuntain3, IUSSP
1Cameroon Psychology Forum, Research, Yaounde, Cameroon, 2Care International in Cameroon, CARE/Global Fund Project, Yaoundé, Cameroon, 3Cameroon Psychology Forum, Deaf Against AIDS Project, Yaoundé & Kumba, Cameroon
Rationale: Most often, deaf are wrongly considered sexually inactive. Besides, studies have shown that this population is marginalised and little exposed to HIV/AIDS mass communication. Thus, very little is known about their sexuality.
Objectives: To understand sexual behaviour, evaluate risk factors and determine HIV prevalence among the deaf in Yaounde.
Methods: Cross sectional quantitative study, using a standardised pre-coded questionnaire. Interviews were conducted by deaf investigators, trained on social data collection techniques. Volunteer interviewees were invited for free HIV screening tests in a VCT centre.
Results: 126 deaf (52.4% males and 47.6% females) were interviewed. Average age stood at 24, with 97% of them bachelors. 80,2% have already had sexual intercourse. For the last 12 months prior to this study, multi-sexual partner relationship occurred in 45% of cases, more with boys than girls (p<0.05). 86% of the respondents have already used a condom, mainly to prevent HIV (78%); but the last sexual act was not protected in 47% of the cases. 44% of girls and 56% of boys have experimented commercial sex at least once. 61% reported at least one case of STI during the last 12 months. For preferred methods of HIV prevention, use of condom (52%) comes first, then, sexual abstinence (20%). As concerns HIV test, 101 volunteers were screened, (56% males and 44% females). Results show that while socio-demographic characteristics remained constant as compared to the general population, 4 HIV positive cases were diagnosed (3 girls and 1 boy); that is, 4% prevalence rate, closer to the national sero-prevalence average (5.5%).
Conclusion: Sexual risk indicators are high, and HIV virus is now present in the deaf population of Yaounde, contrary to a first study carried out in this same town two years ago. Intensification of HIV/AIDS prevention campaigns towards this social minority should now become a priority.