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New Vision
Uganda: Govt Needs U.S. $400 Million Every Year to Fight HIV

<p>Agnes Kyotalengerire</p>

September 17, 2012

Uganda needs $1,023.37m (about sh2.4 trillion) to significantly reduce new HIV infections over the next four years.

The cost is contained in the National HIV Prevention Strategy 2011-15. Dr. Kihumuro Apuuli disclosed this during a panel discussion on financing HIV programmes at the sixth National Paediatric HIV/AIDS conference held at Hotel Africana in Kampala last week.

Service delivery which includes condom provision, sexually transmitted infection management, safe male circumcision, service delivery would use $ 678.70m.

Prevention of mother-tochild Transmission (PMTCT) would need $278m.

"Currently, donors are contributing 68% of the funding towards HIV programmes. The also contribute an average of sh1.2trillion annually.

"The Government only contributes 11%, individuals contribute 20% and only 1% comes from the private sector.

If the donors walked out, we would have a problem," Kihumuro said.

He said the number of new infections in the country remained high yet the country in 2000 agreed to reduce new infections by 40% by 2012. This meant averting 700,000 new infections in adults and children.

However, Dr. Kihumuro noted that interventions in treatment, support, care and prevention are not sufficient.

He said money was not being directed to the sources of the new infections.

He decried the widespread risky sexual behaviour in the population and highlighted the importance of prioritizing vulnerable populations

Current studies reveal that 43% of new infectionsare occurring among married couples and that HIV prevalence is highest among sex workers at 34%.

Other populations at risk include truck drivers, fishing communities, prisoners and prison staff, the military and formal sectors. Dr. Kihumuro said scaling up of interventions must go up to 90% and that 80% of priority populations must be covered.

In service coverage, the new strategy aims at achieving 70% in voluntary counselling and testing, 80% in condom use, 90% in PMTCT services coverage and 60% reach in management of sexually transmitted infections.

Musa Bungudu, the UNAIDS country director, said political leaders have agreed to make HIV/AIDS one of the global priorities.

"The number of people getting infected, dying and children orphaned because of the disease is high and just unacceptable," he said.

He appealed to the Government of Uganda to increase resources to HIV/AIDS.

"The Government contribution of 10% is far from being acceptable. It is high time they allocate the right resources to address the problem," he urged. He said

Uganda has to make difficult choices so as to have a socially sustainable funding strategy for HIV.