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New Vision
HIV prevalence drops among key populations - new report

<p>Taddeo Bwambale</p>


October 15, 2013

HIV prevalence has significantly reduced from 4% to 2.8% in target communities across the country over the last one year, a new report reveals.

The 2012-2013 Annual Report of the AIDS Information Centre (AIC) released on Friday, shows that using multiple interventions results in a marked reduction in HIV cases.

The report shows that of the 229,119 people tested for HIV by AIC countrywide between June 2012 and June 2013, a total of 6,251 tested positive.

This represents an average prevalence rate of 2.8%, considerably lower than the national average of 7.3%.

The report which covers eight districts in Uganda shows that Lira has a higher prevalence rate of 5.5%, compared to Soroti which has 1.3%.

Among couples, 2.4% (491) of the 10,172 tested for HIV were discordant, compare to 9% recorded last year, while 2% (328) of the couples tested positive.

HIV prevalence among people in the armed forces (Police, army, prisons and private security guards) reduced to 6.3%, up from 9% recorded last year.

Among 7,525 commercial sex workers and their partners, 5% (132) of them tested positive and immediately enrolled on treatment.

The AIC executive director, Dr Raymond Byaruhanga, said the decline in HIV prevalence in key areas was a due to new interventions including safe male circumcision and prevention drives.

Last year, the organisation started offering Anti-Retroviral (ARV) treatment to HIV positive people, in addition to screening for cancer of the cervix at all AIC centres.

“In the next three years, we will work closely with the high risk communities to significantly reduce the prevalence rates through counseling, testing and treatment,” Byaruhanga said.

Established in 1990 as a non-governmental organisation, AIC contributes over 26% of the HIV counseling and testing network in Uganda.

According to the Uganda AIDS Commission, at least 130,000 new infections occur every year and 25,000 of these are babies who acquire HIV from their parents.

AIC’s latest report also shows that prevalence of HIV among persons with disabilities (PWDs) was 1.3% of 1,281 people tested.

The HIV prevalence rate among employed professionals reduced significantly from 3.6% in 2012 to 0.7% this year, the report shows.

Among expectant mothers, 11% (438) of the 3,966 women tested for HIV were positive. In line with the Option B+ which Uganda adopted, expectant or breastfeeding mothers who are HIV positive to start treatment regardless of their CD4 cell count, Byaruhanga explained.



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