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New study on HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections along Ecuador's northern border

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Ecuador - A new study by IOM on sexual and reproductive health with a focus on HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) among the communities located along Ecuador's northern border, have discovered a high prevalence of STIs.

The study, among the communities of San Lorenzo, Tambillo and Limones, also found there was a high incidence of the Human Papillomavirus, which can cause cervical cancer. The study also confirms the early initiation of sexual activity in these communities, low levels of education, and high levels of pregnancy.

"We must improve the living conditions of all persons residing along Ecuador's northern border. This includes the local residents, refugees and people in search of international protection. But we must also increase the sexual education being provided at all levels," explains gynecologist Dr. Walter Moya.

IOM has shared the results of the study with local and national authorities.

Since August 2007, IOM has been working to support the strengthening of sexual and reproductive health services in the area through an HIV/AIDS focused programme. The direct beneficiaries are the local residents of San Lorenzo and Tambillo which receive Colombians in search of international protection. IOM works with the Ministry of Public Health, Provincial Health Department of Esmeraldas and the Ecuadorian Red Cross.

Since October 2005, IOM has also been working to address the urgent needs of Colombians who flee from the violence of illegal armed groups and who seek international protection. The programme, funded by the US Department of State's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), covers Colombia's border areas with Ecuador, Panama and Venezuela.

A survey conducted by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in February 2008 reported an estimated 85,000 Colombians living in communities along Ecuador's northern border.

To access the report in Spanish, please go to this link.

For more information, please contact:

Ana Guzman
Tel: + (593-2) 225-3948