Government has released a list of districts in Uganda with the lowest HIV prevalence rates.
Whereas recently released Global HIV and AIDS statistics show that Uganda is among the front runners in reducing new HIV infections, Minister for Presidency Esther Mbayo says that there are still disparities in HIV prevalence among the various districts.
While addressing a press conference on Monday on the Status of HIV in Uganda with Emphasis on HIV Prevalence & ART Coverage in the Various Districts in Uganda, the Minister listed districts in Uganda with high and low HIV prevalence rates.
“For a long time the epicentre of HIV was Rakai alongside other thriving urban centres and many districts in Uganda such as those along the highways and rapids commercialization in the Karamoja region did not have any cases of HIV infection. However, to date, every district in Uganda has cases of HIV.” said Hon Esther Mbayo, Minister for the Presidency.
The districts with high HIV prevalence include; Kalangala at 18%, Mbarara at 15.2%, Gulu at 14.3%, Kabarole at 14.2%, Masaka at 11.5% among others. Districts with prevalence that is in between include; Kabale at 6.0%, Ntungamo at 5.6%, Isingiro at 4.8%, Rukiga at 4.9%, Luuka 2.7% among others.
Minister Mbayo also named Districts with low HIV prevalence including; Nabilatuk at 0.2%, Karenga at 0.6%, Amudat at 0.8%, Yumbe at 1.2%, Kween at 1.4% among others.
“Because the achievements in reducing HIV prevalence have not been shared equally between districts, it is important that we act with urgency to achieve our goal of Ending AIDS in Uganda by 2030,” she said.
HIV infection in Uganda is gendered with prevalence being higher among women at 6.8% than men at 4.2%.2.8% among young women and 1.1% among young men. Amongst older adolescents and young people, prevalence is almost four times higher among females than males.
Mbayo said that despite numerous HIV prevention interventions, 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; widespread self-stigma, low uptake of couple testing, and significant proportions of people, especially men living with HIV, who do not know their HIV status.
“We need to implement behavior change interventions and disseminate messages for HIV prevention to reduce HIV infections; pay attention to the vulnerabilities and risk factors in the general population apart from concentrating on only the urban hot spots and also roll out the local funding sources such as the One Dollar Initiative to ensure sustainability of the response if we are to End AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.” She said.