Background From 2002 bio-behavioural surveillance has regularly conducted in Armenia to monitor HIV prevalence and behavioural characteristics among the key populations at higher risk.
In 2010 and 2012 integrated HIV/STI/Hepatitis biological and behavioural surveillance was conducted among persons who inject drugs (PWID), sex workers (SWs) and men who have sex with men (MSM) in three major cities of Armenia.
Methods Respondent driven sampling was used to conduct the surveillance in 2010 and 2012. 300 representatives of each population group participated in the surveillance surveys conducted in 2012 in Yerevan, the capital. STI component aimed to reveal risk behaviours recently exhibited by the respondents.
Results The biological and behavioural surveillance showed that HIV prevalence among PWID in Yerevan was 6.3%, syphilis prevalence was 0.8%, and hepatitis C prevalence - 52.6%. 55% of PWID did not use condoms at last sex with casual partners, 29.1% of those surveyed shared injecting equipment in the last 1 month.
HIV prevalence among SWs was 1.3%, syphilis prevalence - 4.3%, trichomoniasis prevalence - 22.5%, gonorrhoea prevalence - 6.6%. 10% of SWs did not use condoms at last sex with clients and only 40% used condoms at last sex with non-commercial partners. HIV prevalence among MSM was 2.6%, syphilis prevalence - 1.9%, and hepatitis B prevalence - 0.6%. 27% of MSM did not use condoms at last sex with casual partners.
Conclusion The surveillance results revealed that representatives of the key populations at higher risk continue to exhibit risk behaviours, which is proved by low condom use. Also, presence of sexually transmitted infections demonstrates their risk behaviours. Bio-behavioural surveys with the same methodology would be continued for making the trend analysis. The survey results should be considered while designing prevention activities. The study outcomes should be disseminated among stakeholders for better planning and among communities for advocacy.
- Scientific head
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