The development of harmonized minimum standards for guidance on HIV testing and counselling and Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV in the SADC region: PMTCT country report: Mauritius
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The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Mauritius is concentrated, characterized by prevalence below 1% among the general population and a higher prevalence of generally above 5% in specific vulnerable groups such as commercial sex workers (CSWs) and injecting drug users (IDUs).
The country is experiencing a rapid increase in incidence due to the high vulnerability of IDU. During recent years, the epidemic has risen exponentially with a concurrent marked shift in the predominant mode of transmission from unprotected heterosexual sex (64% in 2001 to 8% in 2004) to injecting drug use (7% in 2001 to above 88% in 2004). In 2005, 921 new HIV infection cases were documented (among which over 90% were in IDU group), which corresponds to the highest annual incidence for the past 16 years.
There is growing concern regarding the generalization of the epidemic away from the IDU group, indicated by the increasing monthly HIV incidence rate in pregnant women: an increase to 5 HIV positive cases per month was notified for January and February 2005 as opposed to the average 1.4 per month in past years. This trend demonstrates the initial stages of the generalization of the epidemic.
A National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) was established in 1987, with support from the Global Programme of Action, WHO & UNDP, and focused on primary prevention strategies, which included blood transfusion safety and access to information.
Access to antiretroviral treatment for the prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) was integrated into the NACP in 2000. Universal free anti-retroviral therapy treatment has been provided since 2002. However, marginalized groups like CSW and IDU have low medical consultation rates.