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J Med Virol. 2004 Mar;72(3):358-62.

HIV epidemic in Central African Republic: high prevalence rates in both rural and urban areas.

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Epidemiology Unit, Pasteur Institute of Bangui, Central African Republic.


A sentinel serosurveillance study was conducted in Central African Republic to estimate the prevalence of HIV seropositivity in the general adult population in each province so that the public health authorities can target HIV prevention programmes to the priority areas. Blood samples were collected from women attending 48 antenatal clinics in urban and rural areas of the Central African Republic. These samples were tested for HIV antibodies in an anonymous and unlinked manner using strategy II recommended by WHO. The data were extrapolated to all women of reproductive age in Central African Republic by use of a parity-based adjustment involving the application of correction factors to the observed prevalence rates. A total of 9,305 pregnant women were recruited from November 2001 to October 2002. HIV seroprevalence was high in all age groups (12% in the less than 20 year age group to 17% in the 25-29 year age group). The median prevalence of HIV in antenatal clinics was similar for rural areas, for Bangui and for other urban areas (16.5, 15.0, and 12.5% respectively). Adjustment for parity and fertility pattern increased the prevalence of HIV in all antenatal clinics except in Bangui. This first national study of HIV prevalence in Central African Republic revealed that the HIV epidemic is continuing to spread in both urban and rural areas. Thus, efforts to reduce transmission should be made in every part of the country.

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