Today we join the world to commemorate World AIDS day. 1st December was designated since 1988 as the day to raise awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection, and mourning those who have died of the disease.
In 2015, global leaders signed up to the Sustainable Development Goals, with the aim to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) by 2030. The UHC framework now lies at the centre of all health programmes.
To complement the global World AIDS Day 2017 campaign which promotes the theme “Right to health”, the World Health Organization will highlight the need for all 36.7 million people living with HIV and those who are vulnerable and affected by the epidemic, to reach the goal of universal health coverage.
Under the slogan “Everybody counts”, WHO will advocate for access to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines, including medicines, diagnostics and other health commodities as well as health care services for all people in need, while also ensuring that they are protected against financial risks.
Here are a few facts about HIV/AIDS in Uganda that will shock you;
- The burden of HIV and AIDS in Uganda stands at an estimated 1.5 million people living with HIV and AIDS. Of these more than 60% [932,315] are women while 12% [183,969] are children (The HIV Stigma Index Uganda 2013).
- There are over 330 new HIV infections every week occurring among young women and adolescent girls ages 15-24 years.
- Uganda is faced with a feminized HIV epidemic with over 8% of all adult women aged 15-49 years living with HIV.
- In Uganda, women and girls constitute the largest proportion of individuals living with HIV estimated at 8.3% compared to men at 6.1% (UAIS 2011).
- There are still high levels of stigma, discrimination combined with an overwhelmed social services delivery and support system at all levels.
- Many infected people are afraid to take ARVs, and others are not taking medication as directed by the doctor.
- Many girls still don’t know the effect of HIV/AIDS to their lives. They fear pregnancy more than they fear HIV/AIDS.
- Women and girls in Uganda continue to face increased risk of and vulnerability to HIV, due to a range of factors such as poverty, violence, cultural practices, as well as discrimination and stigma by family and community members.
- UDHS 2016, notes that 46% of young women and 45% of young men have comprehensive knowledge about HIV.
- Uganda continues to experience a high rate of new HIV infections, the trend over the last five years shows a 39% decline, from a high of 162,000 new infections in 2011 to 137,000 new infections in 2013 and 83,265 in 2015.
- The number of babies born with HIV has reduced from about 31,000 in 2011 to 15,000 in 2013 and to about 3,246 in 2015; with an overall reduction of 78% reduction (UNAIDS HIV Data Estimates 2015).
- Uganda’s HIV and AIDS status by 2015 indicated that 1,502,885 are infected, 1,352,597 have been diagnosed, while 966,513 were linked to care. In addition, 898,197 were started on ART and of these 117,887 pregnant women received antiretroviral for preventing mother-to-child-transmission by 2015 (UNAIDS HIV Data Estimates 2015).
- There has been a sustained decline in HIV and AIDS related deaths reducing from 63,000 in 2011, 56,000 in 2013 to 28,000 in 2015;with overall 50% reduction over the 5 years period. More than 80% of such deaths occurred among adults 15+ years of age majority of whom were women.
This information was generated from the National Action Plan on Women, Girls, Gender Equality, HIV and AIDS 2016/17 – 2020/21 (NaWoGGE) approved and launched by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD).