Monday, May 4, 2009

Uganda: Country to Conduct HIV Survey

Kampala — THE Ministry of Health plans to carry out another national HIV/AIDS sero-behavioural survey later this year.

"The survey taskforce is working out the modalities like mobilising the funds, but by October, we expect to have kicked off," said Dr. Sam Zaramba, the director general of health services.

He disclosed that the survey would cost about $5m (sh10b), which will be financed by the Government and development partners.

A sero-status survey is carried out to establish the magnitude, knowledge and management of HIV/AIDS and other sexually-transmitted infections.

Zaramba said the 2004/2005 survey showed an increase in HIV infections among adults. This, he explained, is one of the critical areas that this year's survey will focus on.

According to the 2004/5 survey, 6.4% of Ugandans aged between 15-49 were HIV-positive.

The HIV prevalence was higher among women at 7.5%, while that in men was 5%.

The survey showed that 10.1% of urban residents were infected, while the prevalence rate in their rural counterparts was 5.7%.

The central region had a prevalence rate of 8.5%, followed by northern Uganda with 8.2%.

The survey also showed a high prevalence of other sexually-transmitted infections.

Zainab Akol, the head of the AIDS Control Programme in the health ministry, said there had been an increase in the number of people accessing voluntary counselling services. About 20% of Ugandans know their sero status.

The Government has been encouraging people, especially the youth, to test and establish their sero status so as to live responsibly Akol, however, said an increase in the number of people living with HIV and AIDS is expected.

An estimated 135,000 people are infected with the virus every year.

Nearly 650,000 Ugandans unknowingly live with HIV-positive sexual partners.

Medical practitioners have expressed concern that about 85,000 people risk contracting HIV this year if they are not sensitised about the virus.


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