The country’s first cases of HIV were detected in 1982 at Kasensero on the shores of Lake Victoria in Rakai district.
HIV/AIDS in Uganda
· The country’s first cases of HIV were detected in 1982 at Kasensero on the shores of Lake Victoria in Rakai district; about 2.6 million Ugandans were infected while 1.6 million people lost their lives to HIV/AIDS related illnesses.
· In the early 1983 the government did not publicise the epidemic for fear of scaring away tourists. As a result the disease spread silently but quickly.
· In 1986 when NRM came to power the government decided to quickly raise public awareness about the epidemic and educate the public about prevention methods. The government promoted the ABC strategy which meant abstaining from sex (for young people), being faithful to one partner (for married people) and using a condom (for those who could neither abstain nor stick to one partner).
· In 1989 Philly Bongole Lutaaya became the first celebrity in Uganda to publicly declare his HIV status. Through his popular music and educational tours, he gave HIV a human face. His campaign helped spread understanding, compassion and respect for people living with HIV.
· As a result of increased awareness and behavior change, HIV prevalence reduced from 18% in 1992 to 6.2% in 2002. Uganda acclaimed as the first developing country to bring down HIV prevalence.
· Meanwhile, due to improved medical treatment and awareness of positive living, the typical picture of an emaciated AIDS patient with thin hair, skin rashes and red lips virtually disappeared
· This success led to complacence and more people started engaging in risky behavior again
· As a result, by 2003, health experts observed that the prevalence was no longer declining. The figures stagnated for several years and then started to rise again. From 2005 to 2011 the prevalence rose from 6.4% to 7.3%.
· Over 140,000 Ugandans became infected with HIV in 2012, a significant increase from 120,000 in 2005
· 1.3 million People living with the disease out of a population of about 34 million
· Over 577,000 people living with HIV in Uganda are receiving antiretroviral drugs
· 72% of the HIV positive pregnant women in Uganda received treatment for the prevention of mother to child HIV transmission (PMTCT)Between 97% and 100% of the pregnant HIV positive women who received the recommended PMTCT treatment have delivered HIV negative babies
· An estimated 190,000 children under 15 years of age in Uganda are living with HIV
· An estimated 110,000 children in Uganda need to immediately start taking ARVs but only 33% of them are taking these drugs
· At least 2.7 million children under 15 have lost one or both parents (it is not clear how many of these are due to AIDS)
· The last five years have seen an increase in the HIV infection rate, with over 65% of infections occurring amongst the married.
· Free anti-retroviral (ARVs) drugs have been available in Uganda since 2004. It is thought that the introduction of the HIV drugs led to complacency about HIV as AIDS it is no longer an immediate death sentence.
· Uganda still remains a success story. The prevalence is lower than it was in the 1990s.
· Uganda’s ARV programme is one of the best in Africa in terms of numbers of people treated, as well as the quality care they receive.
140,000 Ugandans became infected with HIV in 2012