THE HIV/AIDS prevalence rate has dropped from 6.5% to 6.4%, with 0.7% children under five years infected, a Uganda AIDS indicator survey has revealed, writes Joel Ogwang.
Dr. Wilford Lordson Kirungi, the medical epidemiologist at the AIDS Control Programme, said the survey, conducted between 2004 and 2005, involved 10,437 households randomly selected from 417 clusters (25 per cluster).
Presenting a paper on Uganda HIV/AIDS epidemic: Uganda country situational update February 2006 at Colline Hotel in Mukono yesterday, Kirungi said individual interviews were used to collect data on social and demographic variables like attitude, sexual behaviour and knowledge.
He said blood samples were taken from consenting adults (venous blood from adults and capillary blood on litter paper from children) and serological assays for anonymous HIV testing of adults and children.
The findings show that the radio is by far the most vital source of information about HIV/AIDS and that awareness of the modes of HIV transmission is high, with almost 90% of adults knowing that having only one uninfected faithful partner can reduce the chances of getting AIDS.
â€œRejection of misconceptions related to HIV is also widespread. 74% of women and 84% of men know that a healthy-looking person may be HIV-positive and more than four in five know that HIV cannot be transmitted by witchcraft or by sharing food with someone who has AIDS,â€ the survey noted.
Kirungi said women topped the overall HIV prevalence in Uganda by sex, with 7.5% between 15-49 years infected compared to their male counterparts with 6.4%.
â€œWe also found out that circumcised men are less likely to be HIV infected with 3.7% vs 5.5%. This was true for most categories of age groups, ethnicity, region and urban-rural residence,â€ he said.
The prevalence by religion among respondents aged 15-49 years indicated that Anglicans are the most infected at 7.1%, followed by Catholics and other Christians who tied at 6.3%.
Kampala came first in the prevalence by region with 8.5%, with West Nile coming last with 2.3%.
Kirungi said Batoro topped the prevalence by ethnic group with 14.8% followed by the Langi with about 9.4% while the Karimojong came last with 1.7%.
He said prevalence increased steadily with the number of partners, from 5% among those who did not have sex in the previous 12 months to 9% among men who had more than three partners in the previous year.