By John Agaba
The ministry of health has announced a new arrangement to start monitoring persons who are on antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV using viral load tests as opposed to only employing CD4 cell count tests.
This means all persons on treatment soon will be monitored using viral load tests to verify whether the amount of the virus in their blood is reducing as a result of the ARVs.
By December 2013, over 577,000 were on ARVs, according to the Uganda AIDS Commission. An additional 240, 000 PLHIV whose CD4 cell count has dropped to 350 or below are expected to be started on treatment this year, totaling the number of people on ART to about 817, 000.
Dr. Joshua Musinguzi, the program manager AIDS control at the ministry, said they are procuring more viral load machines to make it routine for every patient on treatment to access viral load tests.
"We already have some viral load machines. But these are few, located mainly at regional referral hospitals and some tertiary facilities," said Musinguzi.
"We are looking at procuring more machines so every facility that provides HIV care can at least have a viral load test machine."