Background: Guyana had an estimated HIV prevalence of 1.5% among pregnant women in 2006 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.1–1.9). However, a survey of miners in one mine found a 6.5% HIV prevalence in 2002. To determine whether Guyanese miners are at high risk for HIV infection we conducted a HIV and syphilis prevalence survey of miners in several mines.
Methods: Adult male consenting miners in 45 Guyanese mines were interviewed, counselled, tested for HIV and syphilis with rapid tests and provided onsite test results. The survey was cross-sectional and used a multi-stage cluster sampling design; population estimates were calculated using SUDAAN.
Results: Of 651 miners approached, 539 (83%) were interviewed and 509 (78%) tested. The estimated prevalence for HIV was 3.9% (CI = 2.1, 7.1) and for life-time syphilis exposure was 6.4% (CI = 4.5, 9.1). Fifty-four per cent (CI = 41.3, 66.7) of miners had casual sex during the preceding year, of whom 44.4% (CI = 34.3, 55.0) had always used condoms with these partners.
Conclusion: The estimated HIV prevalence among Guyanese miners was higher than that of the general population. Targeted interventions including condom promotion are recommended to prevent further spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections among miners.