World AIDS Day: Uganda reports decline in new HIV infections

HIV –1/2 .HIV blood sample testing tabs at the Voluntary Counselling and Testing Clinic at the Bwindi Community Hospital. The hospital is in Buhoma village on the edge of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Western Uganda. It serves around 60 000 people from the surrounding area. (Photo by In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images)

Uganda’s Ministry of Health on Tuesday announced it had recorded a decline in new HIV infections over a four-year period as the world marked World AIDS Day.

HIV blood sample testing tabs at the Voluntary Counselling and Testing Clinic at Bwindi Community Hospital in Buhoma village in Western Uganda. (Photo by In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images)

The ministry said it had recorded a reduction of almost 50 percent in new HIV infections from 100,000 in 2015 to 53,413 in 2019.

According to government figures, Uganda has one of the highest infection rates in East Africa.

“Today is World AIDS Day held under the local theme “National solidarity and a shared responsibility towards ending AIDS”. Our solidarity has enabled us achieve significantly in the fight against HIV,” the ministry said.

The number of AIDS-related deaths dropped to 21,000 in 2019 compared to 65,000 in 2015. Meanwhile, the number of Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART) treatment facilities across the country are 2,015.

“World AIDS Day offers us an opportunity to reflect on the achievements made and challenges that we face in the implementation of the HIV response in Uganda,” Dr. Joyce Moriku Kaducu, Minister of State for Primary Health Care, said.

There were also positive statistics involving women as HIV testing for pregnant mothers stood at 96 percent while enrolment of HIV+ pregnant women stood at 95 percent.

Ugandan Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda welcomed the progress made in regard with women, especially as they are disproportionately affected. Women account for almost 60 percent of adults living with HIV while new infections among young women aged 15–24 years are significantly more than those among young men.

“Women have done well in the fight against HIV. If you’re pregnant, go to the health facility so health workers can test you. If you’re positive, they will support you to access treatment. If you’re negative, protect yourself and your baby from HIV,” Rugunda said.

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