The Ministry of Health will October 8th start conduct the Rwanda Population HIV Impact Assessment (RPHIA) survey to get fresh numbers on HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C in Rwanda.
The study to be conducted door to door will be led by the government of Rwanda through the ministry of health (MOH) through the Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC) and in partnership with ICAP at Colombia University starting on October 8th.
Additional stakeholders include non-governmental partners involved in HIV prevention and care associations for people living with HIV, the United Nations (UN) family, and the National network of people living with HIV/AIDS in Rwanda (RRP+).
Speaking to the media during a one-day training session in Musanze district, Dr. Gallican Nshogoza Rwibasira senior study coordinator from RBC said that survey will not target all households in Rwanda but will target 11,000 randomly selected households, across Rwanda. And the final outcome will be produced within 1-2 years. Six months will be spent on data collection before the final analysis is produced.
“The target will be men, women, and children aged between 10-64 years old have been randomly selected at the household level. They may have people living with HIV, but others may not. The goal is to describe and have fresh data plus to know the current status of the HIV epidemic in Rwanda “he added.
The survey will be conducted with funding from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and technical assistance through the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Beata Sangwayire from RBC/HIV prevention unit also pointed out that they hope it will go done well and Rwandans will respond. There trained personal who will collect to samples from door to door.
“HIV prevalence in Rwandan general population stands at 3%, in men it is 2.2%, women: 3.6% while female sex workers: 45.8%,” she added.
RPHIA will help to know how many people in Rwanda have HIV and need health services. RPHIA will also give participants the opportunity to get free HIV testing and counseling in the privacy of their own homes.
RPHIA will help the MOH to know the extent of HIV in Rwanda to help them better plan for future HIV prevention and treatment services for all Rwandans.
“HIV is a disease that impacts all communities and affects the lives of many people that we know. It is important that we understand what the HIV epidemic looks line in Rwanda today.” RPHIA revealed
After a decade of successful scale up of HIV prevention, care, and treatment efforts in Rwanda, there is need to evaluate accomplishments to date and better understand the impacts of HIV programs in order to refine Rwanda’s response to the epidemic in the coming years.
That is why RPHIA will provide the MOH with information to improve the quality of HIV treatment and other services so that Rwanda can move towards an HIV-free generation.
Before the interview begins, the selected household residents will be given forms that fully describe the survey. Before survey teams collected information, permission (consent) from those aged 18 to 64 years will be obtained.
Assent will be obtained from the minors aged 10 years to 17 years, and permission will be obtained from their parents or guardians to participate in the survey.
Blood samples will be taken from the arm or finger to perform HIV testing in all participants and hepatitis B testing in a few selected participants in the house.
These tests results will be returned to the participant on the same day. Those who test positive for HIV or hepatitis B will be referred to a health facility for vaccination.
Blood samples will also be sent to a laboratory so further testing can be conducted, such as viral load for the participants who tested HIV-positive and hepatitis C for a few selected participants. Results for tests done in the laboratory will be set to the health facility of the participant’s choice in 8 to 12 weeks.
RPHIA staff will take a few teaspoons of blood from each participant (14ml). This is a very small amount compared to the amount of blood in your body and it is very safe to remove this small amount of blood.
As mentioned before, testing of HIV and hepatitis B will be done at your household. Further testing will be done at the central lab to help better understand the HIV epidemic in Rwanda and to test some samples for hepatitis C.
All blood will be handled according to MOH-approved standards. Blood will not be used for any purpose other than for laboratory tests. Information will be kept private.
There several different types of drugs exist to treat HIV infection. For those infected, there is the antiretroviral treatment (ART).For those who are HIV negative and feel they are at risk contracting HIV, there is pre-exposure prophylaxis(PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis(PEP).
In addition to treatment, you need care and support. For more information, please visit your nearest health facility.