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Thousands test for HIV but most are old-timers

By Vision Reporter

Added 1st December 2008 03:00 AM

THE World AIDS Day campaign to have one million people tested by the end of December is in high gear. However, policymakers are concerned that most clients who come for testing have undergone the procedure before.

THE World AIDS Day campaign to have one million people tested by the end of December is in high gear. However, policymakers are concerned that most clients who come for testing have undergone the procedure before.

By Irene Nabusoba

THE World AIDS Day campaign to have one million people tested by the end of December is in high gear.

However, policymakers are concerned that most clients who come for testing have undergone the procedure before.

The primary health care state minister, Dr. Emmanuel Otaala, said this meant many people were not accessing the services.

He was speaking at the World AIDS Day celebrations at Lugogo Cricket Oval yesterday.

“We should reinforce our message to thousands who are still hiding to test,” he said.

This year’s theme, ‘One million HIV Tests’ is aimed at renewing commitment to the HIV fight and preventing new infections through testing.

Dr. Zainabu Akol, the director HIV/AIDS Control Programme in the Ministry of Health, said there were over 500 testing centres. She said about 30% of the people testing had tested before.
“That is why our coverage never goes up. People coming back shows that testing is not difficult but harder with the first step.”

In Uganda, 6.4% (about 1.1million) people are living with HIV/AIDS and only 20% know their status.

Akol said prevalence rates did not necessarily mean bad indications.

“There are increasing infections but this is the situation world wide. It means that with the advent of ARVs, people are living longer and enjoying their normal life,” she said.

Akol added that the rates should be used to emphasise positive living.
Officiating at the function Bunyoro King Omukama Iguru Gafabusa called for the involvement of cultural leaders in HIV-prevention.

Iguru, who took the test, said cultural values had a strong bearing on behavioral change, adding that this was critical in the fight against HIV.

Facts on HIV/AIDS in Uganda

  • 1982, the first AIDS case in Uganda was diagnosed. the prevalence was about 30% then.

  • 1987, the AIDS Control Programme was set up.

  • 1990, voluntary counselling and testing was started.

  • In 2002, the Ministry of Health developed the first VCT policy.

  • 2004 Free anti-retroviral (ARVs) drugs were availed

  • Only 4.5 million Ugandans have tested for HIV since 1990.

  • Sexual transmission is the commonest mode of infection followed by mother-to-child infections, which account for 95% of infection in children below two years.

  • 1.1 million people are currently living with HIV/AIDS

  • An estimated 135,000 Ugandans get infected every year; children account for 14%

  • The current HIV adult prevalence is about 6.4%, 0.7% among children.

  • Currently 350,000 Ugandans are in need of anti-retroviral treatment.

  • Only 150,000 are on treatment; of these, only 12,000 are children below 15 years.

  • 50% of the people living with AIDS access ARVs under a government programme.

  • On average, 1,500 patients are enrolled on ARVs every month

  • Monthly cost of ARVs is $15 for generics and $77 for branded drugs.

  • HIV/AIDS kills an estimated 80,000 people annually, 18% children.

  • Only 38% of adult population (about seven million people) have tested.

  • About 70% of Ugandans would like to know their sero status, but cannot access testing.

  • Nearly 6% of married couples are in discordant relationships without their knowledge.

  • Male participation in prevention of mother-to-child transmission is 5%.

  • Of 1.4 million pregnancies every year, 91,000 (6.5%) infected .

  • Only 12% of Ugandans know their HIV status, of these, 64% do not disclose their status to their partners.

  • The Batoro are the most affected with 15%, followed by the Langi (9%) and Baganda (8%).

  • Karimojong have least infection levels at 2%, followed by the Lugbara/Madi with 3%.

  • The Protestants lead the religious league with 7%, followed by Catholics (6.3%) and other Christians (6.3%).
  • The Muslims have least rate at 5%, while others are at 5.5%.

  • One in every three women and men widowed are likely to be infected compared to about 6% of them are married.

  • Also the divorced or separated are seven times likely to be HIV infected than those who have never been in a marital union.

  • West Nile region has an HIV rate of 2.5%, followed by the north-eastern region at 3.5%.

  • Eastern region has 5% followed by south-west region at 6%.

  • East-central region has 6.5%. followed by western region at 7%.

  • Central and north-central regions and Kampala district registered the highest infection rates above 8%.

  • The 2007 budget for HIV programmes was sh60b.



  • [Source: HIV/Aids Sero-behavioral survey report 2004-05 and Service Provision Assessment Survey 2007]

    Thousands test for HIV but most are old-timers

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