Staggering HIV stats for country revealed

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One in every 33 adults living in The Bahamas is human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive, according to the Global Aids Monitoring Report 2017.

The report, which represents statistics from 2015– 2017, reported 226 new diagnosis of HIV. Of that number, 16 per cent contracted aids in less than 12 months.

More men became infected with the deadly virus than women – 57 per cent to be exact. Persons between the ages of 30 and 39 accounted for the largest group infected at 25 per cent, according to the report.

And while new cases of HIV decreased among most demographics, one category showed a 38 per cent increase – young people between the age of 15 and 24.

In fact, new cases of HIV in males in this group tripled from between 2006 to 2015, the report noted.

Health minister Dr. Duane Sands told Eyewitness News that the reason HIV is so prevalent in the country is because Bahamians refuse to wear condoms.

But the report did not point solely to  bad news, as it showed that of the 54 babies born in 2016 to women with HIV, only two contracted the virus.

The study also showed that nearly one in every five men who have sex with men (MSM) in the Bahamas or 19.6 per cent have HIV and 35.5 per cent tested positive for syphilis, while 8.9 per cent were exposed to hepatitis b.

Dr. Sands said in order for HIV stats in The Bahamas to decrease, there needs to be more open, honest conversations about sex.