STDs are a massive health burden, particularly in low-income regions like the African continent. They’ve also had massive economic and social consequences.
Recently, however, more countries and organizations have organized courses, centers, and volunteers to educate the African population on STDs’ importance, like syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, etc. In some areas, the infection rates have been dropping. But, there is still a huge number of people infected.
The question is, have these efforts paid off? How many Africans are actually aware of STDs? We’ve decided to take a closer look at rural communities and poorer African regions. Here is what a recent statistical survey has to say.
HIV Awareness in Africa
Over 68% of people infected with HIV live in Africa. In 2018, 800,000 new infections were registered in the southern and eastern parts of this continent. Does that mean not many people are aware of the infection?
Researchers asked over 1 million Africans from 35 countries, whether they think condoms will reduce the chance of contracting HIV. 66.8% of the participants answered “yes.” But, when they were asked whether sex will expose them to HBV, just 42.5% answered “yes.”
In South Africa, researchers asked a different question. They gathered over 11,000 participants between the ages of 15 to 25. They were asked whether they understand the risk of HIV. Only 42.5% answered, “yes.”
Another topic covered in the survey was mosquito bites. When asked whether they think a mosquito bite can get them infected with HIV, 16.8% of the 95,856 Nigerian citizens answered “yes.”
Based on reports, when a mosquito bites, only the saliva is injected into the human blood. Not the HIV positive cells. Compared to other mosquito-borne diseases, HIV is not one of them. The insect’s gut can’t replicate the HIV cells, which means it gets broken down before it can actually get transmitted.
STDs Awareness in Africa
The African population is still not fully aware of the impact of HIV, let alone STIs.
It seems there is still a place to implement the need to share knowledge. When asked if they are familiar with gonorrhea, only 22.8% of the 1,123 people evaluated in Madagascar and Nigeria answered “yes.”
Their main sources of information came from friends or colleagues. But, in regions such as these, awareness should be enforced, experts recommend. By highlighting the impact of infections like STIs and HIV, we can reduce the gap of weakness and lack of knowledge and increase the quality of life.