HIV and AIDS
HIV prevalence has reduced greatly, but key younger groups remain vulnerable
Myanmar has reduced HIV prevalence in the general population to under 0.6 per cent. However, HIV rates remain relatively high among some groups, including young female sex workers, people who inject drugs and men who have sex with men.
“Low risk” women such as pregnant women and housewives, are still at risk, accounting for 24 per cent of new HIV infections. There was an estimated 752 new mother-to-child transmitted HIV infections in 2017. Access to treatment for affected groups, including women and children, is increasing, but gaps remain.
In 2017, people under 15 years of age were nearly twice as likely to receive Anti-Retroviral Treatment as people aged over 15 years of age (83.7 per cent versus 48.1 per cent respectively), though quality remains a concern.
In the same year, 78.2 per cent of HIV-positive pregnant women received anti-retroviral medicine to reduce the risk of mother to child transmission, but only 46.6 per cent of HIV-exposed children received Nevirapine syrup, the most cost-effective method of preventing mother-child transmission.
Comprehensive knowledge about HIV among adolescents is extremely low. Only 13.4 per cent of older children have comprehensive knowledge about HIV and AIDS, data shows, reflecting the lack of sex education in Myanmar’s schools and communities.
HIV prevalence among adolescents aged 15–19 is 4.8 per cent among female sex workers, 13.8 per cent among people who inject drugs, and 2.9 per cent among men who have sex with men.
Along with the Government and partners, UNICEF plays a leading role in Myanmar’s national HIV response.
We work with the Government and partners to better align and integrate HIV services across sectors, especially in all aspects of the maternal, neonatal and child health sector. We also work to strengthen data systems and analyses at national and regional levels, and we work with partners including NGOs to actively engage communities, ethnic health organizations, marginalized groups, civil society and youth groups to determine the best ways to improve access, coverage and retention in services.
In 2018, a total of 1,760 HIV exposed infants received early infant diagnosis within two months after their birth.
The Government has set targets to reduce mother-to-child transmission. UNICEF support for this includes working with the National Health Laboratory to introduce and decentralize point of care diagnostics facilities.
In 2018, UNICEF supported the National AIDS Programme to establish an electronic patient management and record system (OpenMRS) to improve patient management and data linkages across the continuum of care. The software training and installation was gradually scaled up and 16 new ART sites from Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw regions were set up.