Uganda HIV/Aids Infections Rise Alarming

KidOnce a model in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Uganda’s campaign is reversing according to the Millennium Development Goals report for 2013.

Goal six requires Uganda to have halted infections in HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis by 2015.

The latest report now shows that even though improved access to treatment has reduced the number of deaths associated with HIV/AIDS, the prevalence rate among the 15-24 age group has increased.

The prevalence rate in this age group has jumped from 2.9 percent in 2004/2005, to 3.7 percent in 2011. Dr Albert Musisi, the Commissioner for Economic Policy in Uganda’s Ministry of Finance, says this is because improved treatment has indirectly contributed to a rise in the number of new infections by ensuring greater longevity for those living with HIV.

Condom use among the youth in the 15 to 24 age bracket as at last high risk sex has, however, increased from 46.5 to 56.1 percent.

The proportion of the same age group with comprehensive correct knowledge of HIV/AIDS also stands at 38.8 in 2011 from 35.1 percent in 2006.

Dr. Musisi, while presenting the report in Kampala Thursday, said despite the campaigns in HIV/AIDS awareness, it was surprising that many youth think AIDS can be transmitted through mosquito bites and that a person can become infected with the AIDS virus by eating from the same plate as someone who is infected.

The youth were also asked whether consistent use of a condom during intercourse would reduce the chances of getting AIDS and whether a healthy looking person can have the virus.

Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Uganda, noted that there is need to re-engage all Ugandans in a comprehensive sensitization campaign to promote behavioral change.

Bunguda Musa, the Country Coordinator UNAIDS is however hopeful that Uganda’s progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS will get even better in 2014 since there are plans to put 240,000 more Ugandans on HIV treatment.

While the youth prevalence rate paints a grim picture of the HIV/AIDS status in the country, target 6 (b) shows that 62 percent of Ugandans living with advanced HIV infection are currently accessing antiretroviral drugs. This is an improvement from 50 percent in 2010.

Under the new criteria for access to ARVs, adults with HIV can initiate treatment much earlier while all children below two years of age and TB sufferers are automatically eligible. This, according to the report, means that Uganda is on course to achieve the national target of providing antiretroviral drugs to 80 percent of those in need by 2015.

The Uganda Aids Commission estimates 37 percent of new infections are among persons reporting multiple sexual partnerships, 35 percent occur within discordant monogamous couples, 18 percent are due to mother to child transmission and 9 percent arise from commercial sex networks.

Unfortunately there has been no significant improvement in condom use for higher risk sexual activity. Around half the youth engaging in sexual intercourse with a non-marital or non-cohabiting partner still do not use a condom, according to the report.

1 thought on “Uganda HIV/Aids Infections Rise Alarming

  1. MOH should not delay the use of the researched pills for those HIV negative in their discordant relationship. PrEP could surely reduce these percentages especially in the discordant couples.

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