Advertisement
The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
  
  • Email Email
  • Printable Single-Page Print-Friendly
  • Glossary Glossary

International News

Mauritius Starts Needle Exchange Program to Stem AIDS

March 7, 2007

In Mauritius, IV drug use accounted for 92 percent of new HIV infections in 2005 and 85.2 percent last year. These figures are in stark contrast to the rest of southern Africa, where HIV is transmitted primarily through heterosexual sex. In a bid to curb the HIV/AIDS rate among injection drug users (IDUs), the Mauritian government has introduced a syringe- and needle-exchange program and methadone treatment.

Since Parliament adopted the comprehensive HIV and AIDS Act at the end of 2006, around 2,000 syringes have been exchanged. Social workers have established programs in the capital Port Louis and in the city's outlying areas of Baie-du-Tombeau, Roche Bois, and Batterie Cassee. "It is not only a program to exchange syringes," said Cadress Runghen, a social worker. "We are doing it to reach out to drug addicts and convince them to go to one of our rehabilitation centers."

Mauritius has a low HIV rate, just 0.5 percent among its population of 1.2 million. However, the virus has spread unchecked among IDUs. Runghen attributes this to the fact that anti-AIDS messages during the 1990s focused only on sexual behavior. "Nobody kept a check on the drug addict community," said Runghen.

Advertisement
The syringe exchange program is one of several initiatives included in the legislation. Health Minister Satish Faugoo said the act provides a national framework for HIV/AIDS prevention and care programs in Mauritius. It emphasizes confidentiality and human rights, guaranteeing that people with the virus have equal rights to employment and health care. The law makes it illegal to impose HIV testing as a pre-condition for employment or continued employment, and it includes penalties for HIV/AIDS discrimination.

Back to other news for March 7, 2007

Adapted from:
Inter Press Service
02.20.07; Nasseem Ackbarally


  
  • Email Email
  • Printable Single-Page Print-Friendly
  • Glossary Glossary

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 
See Also
Quiz: Are You at Risk for HIV?
10 Common Fears About HIV Transmission
More on HIV Prevention in Mauritius
Advertisement:
Find out how a Walgreens specially trained pharmacist can help you

Tools
 

Advertisement