Objectives To describe the epidemiological situation of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and to identify the main drivers for vulnerability in Madagascar.
Design Literature review, qualitative research and situational analysis.
Data sources Search of electronic bibliographic databases, national repositories of documentation from 1998 to 2018. Search keywords included Madagascar, HIV, sexually transmitted infections, men who have sex with men (MSM), sex workers (SWs), transactional sex (TS), injecting drug users (IDUs), vulnerability and sexual behaviour. Qualitative sources were interviews and focus group discussions.
Review methods Studies focused on HIV and/or vulnerability of HIV in Madagascar in general, and key populations (KPs) and HIV/AIDS response were taken into account. National reports from key HIV response actors were included.
Results Madagascar is characterised by a low HIV/AIDS epidemic profile in the general population (GP) (0.3%) combined with a high prevalence of HIV among KPs (SWs, MSM and IDUs).
An increase in HIV prevalence among KP has been observed during recent years. Hospital-based data suggest an increase in HIV prevalence among the GP. The vulnerability traits are inconsistent use of condoms, multipartner relationships and other contextual factors like widespread TS and gender inequality. A high prevalence/incidence of sexually transmitted infections could indicate a high vulnerability to HIV/AIDS. However, there are no reports of HIV prevalence of >1% in antenatal consultation.
Conclusion There is not enough evidence to make a conclusion about the HIV epidemiological situation in Madagascar due to the scarcity of the epidemiological data. However, Madagascar may be closer to a turning point towards a high-prevalence epidemic with severe consequences, particularly when taking into account its socioeconomical fragility and underlying vulnerabilities. More precise epidemiological data and improved HIV/AIDS diagnosis and case management should be a public health priority.
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