Uganda registers 51,007 new HIV infections during Covid-19 period

A staff member of the Jinja Regional Referral Hospital takes a blood sample for an HIV test
Photo by Tommy Trenchard for IntraHealth International.

The minister for the Presidency, Esther Mbayo, has said since the outbreak of coronavirus in the country, there is high level of complacency among people living with HIV/AIDs.

She made remarks ahead of the Annual Joint AIDS Review that will be convened by Uganda Aids Commission on 26th and 27th August.

“There is increased engagement in risky sexual behavior including multiple sexual partners, low condom use among those engaging in high risk sex and decline in age of sexual debut,” she told reporters during a news conference.

Mbayo said there is widespread self-stigma, low uptake of couple testing, and a significant proportion of people, especially men living with HIV who do not know their HIV status.

She however said Uganda has made significant progress in reducing HIV incidence (the number of new infections), prevalence (the total number of infections) and AIDS related deaths.

“In the late 80’s and early 90’s HIV prevalence was high at 18% in the general population. It is now at 6.8% for women and 4.2% for men; 2.8% among young women and 1.1% among young men,”she said.

She said there are approximately 1,400,000 people living with HIV and 1,200,000 of these are on treatment.

“There are 51,007 new HIV infections and AIDS related deaths now stand at 19,500. I would like to applaud Uganda AIDS Commission, UNAIDS and Ministry of Health that enabled us to generate subnational data that is going to be very useful for HIV prevention advocacy campaigns,”she said.

She said since Uganda has pledged to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, there is need to implement behavior change interventions and disseminate messages for HIV prevention among others.

Mbayo also noted the Covid19 pandemic has caused reduction in funding so it is upon Ugandans to look at domestic ways of how to finance the activities related to HIV/AIDs.

“While efforts to increase local financing of the response led to enactment of the AIDS Trust Fund (ATF),government directed all accounting officers to allocate 0.1% of annual operational budget towards mainstreaming HIV interventions in their respective sectors,”she said.

This post first appeared on NilePost

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