OVERVIEW ABOUT HIV/AIDS IN UGANDA. (Please scroll to the bottom to see what your donation can do for HIV positive individuals)
More people are becoming infected with HIV in Uganda; HIV prevalence has been rising since its lowest rate of 6.4 percent in 2006. New infections are diagnosed in 150,000 people a year, of whom 20,600 are children. Despite this, the 2012 life expectancy of 55 years is nine years higher than the expectancy in 2000, likely to be a result of greater access to treatment for people living with HIV.
The government`s shift towards abstinence-only prevention programs, alongside a general complacency or ”AIDS-fatigue” has reduced the practice of safe sex. It has also been suggested that greater access to antiretroviral drug treatment (ART) reduces people’s fear and urgency to get tested for HIV, increasing the likelihood of engaging in risky behavior. The number of new infections per year exceeds the number of annual AIDS deaths, explaining the rising HIV prevalence.
Almost a quarter of people living with HIV in Uganda are part of the education system – either students or staff. Only 39 percent of young people aged 15 to 24 know all the necessary facts about how HIV can be prevented, suggesting a lack of clear sex education. Women in particular are in need of sex education and access to HIV services; HIV prevalence is 5.4 percent, compared to 2.4 percent amongst men. The fact that Ugandan women tend to marry and become sexually active at a younger age than their male counterparts, and often have older and more sexually experienced partners, places them at an increased risk of HIV. AVERT.org has more about women and HIV. Stigma and discrimination by families, local communities and the government continues to marginalize people living with HIV. This undermines national prevention and treatment efforts by creating fear of testing.
The ABC Approach…Abstinence, Be Faithful, Use Condoms
The number of Ugandans who report using condoms at last sex is extremely low at 13.7 percent in 2011. More men are reporting having more than one sexual partner today than in 1990. These statements, along with the fact that 43 percent of new HIV infections are among heterosexual married couples, prompted a campaign in early 2013 to encourage condom use amongst men having extramarital sex. Whilst some saw it as promoting cheating, it is important for those men to use a condom to prevent infecting their partner. However, if condom promotion is to work, supplies need to be sustainable, unlike the condom shortage of 2011.
This campaign is a change from abstinence-based approaches to prevention. Such approaches became dominant in previous years due to PEPFAR’s significant investment of money for abstinence-only programs. Delaying sex until marriage is hoped to reduce HIV infection rates among young people, and billboards widely advertise this. However, ignoring the importance of condom use and being faithful is contributing to rising HIV infections showing how important all three areas of the ABC approach are.
Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT)
Expectant mothers are encouraged to know their HIV status. An estimated 94 percent of pregnant women who attended antenatal clinics received counselling and testing for HIV in 2011. This high level of coverage suggests knowledge about PMTCT is high in Uganda.
Administering antiretroviral (ARVs) to HIV-positive women is very effective at preventing HIV from passing from a mother to her child. An estimated 86 percent of HIV-positive mothers received ARVs in 2011, significantly reducing the risk of their children being born with HIV. Uganda follows the most recent guidelines by WHOM for PMTCT – Option B+. This involves placing pregnant women on a triple ARV drug regimen, for both the duration of their pregnancy and continuing for life regardless of their CD4 count, protecting the health of the mother and the child.
Nevertheless, 20 percent of new HIV infections in Uganda are occurring through mother-to-child transmission, although this figure may be even higher as many births in Uganda take place outside healthcare facilities. This highlights the need to provide all HIV-positive women with antenatal services to prevent mother-to-child transmission altogether.
By placing PMTCT high on the political agenda, it is hoped that by 2015 Uganda will have achieved its target of eliminating mother-to-child transmission, through administering testing and treatment to all in need.
Circumcising men can reduce their risk of becoming infected with HIV by up to 60 percent (CDC). In Uganda where condom use is low and sexual infidelity reported by 1 in 5 men, voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) is an effective prevention strategy. Uganda set the target of offering VMMC to 80 percent of uncircumcised men by 2015. However, as of 2011 only 5 percent of this target has been reached. The number of circumcised men therefore equals 23.6 percent.
A lack of trained health workers is one reason for the slow progress, alongside lack of political backing for the initiative. More support and funding is needed for this method of HIV prevention to be widespread in Uganda.
HIV testing in Rural Communities.
Most at-risk populations (MARPs)
Men who have sex with men (MSM)
Homosexuality is a crime in Uganda. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill (or “Bahati Bill”) was proposed in 2009 by David Bahati, to further criminalize same-sex relations, introducing the death sentence as punishment. Huge international condemnation led to the Bill being shelved until 2012, when the maximum punishment was ‘reduced’ to life imprisonment. The Bill has just been signed in 2013 violating the human rights of MSM. Homophobia in Uganda has severely impacted knowledge about HIV amongst MSM and has hampered MSM access to HIV services.
. Data regarding MSM in Uganda is almost non-existent.
. HIV prevalence among MSM in Uganda is unknown.
. HIV services targeting MSM in Uganda equal almost none.
Due to the criminality of same-sex relations, MSMs are often fearful of being tested due to having to disclose their sexual orientation. This leads to HIV being transmitted more easily and rapidly amongst this at-risk population. They also face homophobic stigma and discrimination from all levels of society; with a marked increase since the media frenzy following the “Bahati Bill”. Eliminating anti-gay legislation and educating people that homosexuality is not a choice is key to improving access to HIV services for this at-risk population and central to reducing HIV transmission in Uganda.
Female sex workers (FSW)
Uganda’s government has no clear outline of HIV service provision for FSWs. A 2009 study found that three quarters of their FSW participants claimed no access to family planning services or contraception. Sex work is illegal, and therefore FSW are reluctant to attend clinics where they may have to reveal the nature of their work. As a result, targeting them with HIV services is difficult.
. HIV prevalence among female sex workers is 35 percent in 2011.
. HIV prevalence is four times higher among female sex workers aged 25 and over, than under 25. This suggests recent sex education for youths is having positive effects.
. Almost 95 percent of FSW had access to condoms, but only 80 percent used them in 2009.
Female sex workers are offered more money for unprotected sex, than protected sex, perhaps explaining why only 80 percent use condoms. This fuels transmission of HIV from client to worker, and from worker to client as many still work after knowing they are HIV positive. The lack of FSWs seeking HIV services makes it hard to monitor the prevalence and rates of transmission which can make it difficult to design and implement effective prevention initiatives.
Intimate partner violence (IPV)
Is increasingly being recognized as a contributing factor to the Ugandan HIV epidemic. A study conducted between 200 and 2009 found an increased risk of HIV-infection among women suffering from prolonged, frequent and severe IPV, compared to those that had never experienced IPV, or had experienced it less. The increased risk of HIV infection associated with IPV is a result of women experiencing forced sex, difficulty negotiating condom use, early sexual initiation, and stress which weakens the immune system. It is important that women who are victims of IPV access HIV testing in order to find out their HIV status.
** Our statistics are sourced from the government of Uganda and the WHO.
GET INVOLVED TODAY
by making a donation to increase on information flow on HIV/AIDS through community meetings and workshops, extend sex education to youths in and out of schools, Promote ABC strategy, and Counselling and Testing services, positive living education and also to help initiate income generating activities for People living with HIV/AIDS.
Join FREDAfrica campaign to advocate the rights to medication for at risk population such as Female sex workers and LGBT people.
How it works?
Organize for a fundraising dinner, walk, presentation or any other form you think may be fit at your house, school, and church work place or even at your club. The money you raise will enable FREDAfrica to extend the above mentioned services to the mentioned group of people.
$3 buys a test kit for one person. It is very important for every person to go HIV testing and if found positive in order to start on the medication as early as possible.
$59 buys a she goat which is donated on a rotational basis. A goat is donated to one household and when it produces, then the mother goat is donated to another house hold.
Goat?s milk products are also very important in our bodies. Through this program FREDAfrica continue to encourage many people in villages to take goats milk since it is also source of food.
$142 buys chickens for both Commercial and Domestic since eggs are source of food. This boosts the income household incomes for people living with HIV.
$220 supports monthly community meetings and workshops for 30 people on HIV/AIDS. This donation carter stationary for all participants in the workshop, and also to care for facilitators
$285 supports a group of 10 rural women to start up a mushroom. It is also another income generating project which could be carried out by groups of people who are HIV positive to uplift their household incomes and care for their families.
$372 provides one family a shared Ox Plow, enabling them to farm six times more land, and see an eight-fold increase in income within a year
Stickers and Certificates in different colors will be awarded to whoever made a donation towards this cause.
Blue certificates are for donations to extend services to LGBT people.
Pink certificates for donations to extend services to Female sex workers.
Yellow certificate for income generating activities for people living with HIV/AIDS in rural communities.
**WE EXTEND OUR SENCERE THANKS FOR YOUR GENEROSITY TOWARDS THE ABOVE MENTIONED CAUSE