Kampala — About 46,000 Ugandans contracted HIV last year, according to new Uganda Aids Commission (UAC) study findings released yesterday.
These infections are, however, a drop from the 52,000 recorded the year before, according to UAC Director General, Dr Nelson Musoba. “The number of new infections stood at 46,000 in 2017,” he said. The release of the report launched by Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, marked the first anniversary of the Presidential Fast Track Initiative (PFTI) to end Aids in Uganda by 2030. A total 8.8m individuals tested, some multiple times, and 250, 000 overall were found to carry the deadly virus. This statistical mismatch, UAC noted, was due to repeat tests as well as cumulative enrolment and does not necessarily mean new infections. This would mean up to 200,000 of the recorded cases were repeat tests if only 46,000 were new infections. The good news in the report is that, unlike in the past, more men are willingly testing for HIV, particularly those aged 15 and above. Six
in every 10 persons who tested positive last year were put on antiretroviral treatment, according to the report, bringing the total number of people receiving medication to 1m. Aids-related deaths, meanwhile, have reduced from 100,000 per year in 2004 to about 20,000 last year. More significant progress was reported in the elimination of mother-to-child transmission campaign, with the report showing that Uganda is closer to achieving the global target of 95 per cent antiretroviral treatment coverage for HIV-positive pregnant and or breast-feeding women. “In 2017, 91 per cent HIV-positive mothers identified were enrolled on antiretroviral treatment in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) programme,” notes the researchers. Explaining the impact of behavioural changes as a result of the various prevention messages, Dr Musoba said the HIV prevalence
had reduced by 1.3 percentage point in five years to 2016. Dr Eddie Sefuluya, the new UAC board chairman, said older men buy sex from and
infect youth. Highlighting the achievements of the presidential initiative, Dr Sefuluya said some 5,000 leaders in 93 districts are mobilising the population for behaviour change based on the message in the PFTI handbook.  However, persistent stock-out of Aids drugs, scarcity of HIV testing supplies, limited follow-up of HIV-positive children and delayed operationalisation of the Aids Trust Fund remain a setback, according to the report.HIV in numbers 52,000. These infections are, however, a drop from the 52,000 recorded the year before. 20,000. Aids-related deaths, meanwhile, have reduced from 100,000 per year in 2004 to about 20,000 last year. 95. More significant progress was reported in the elimination of mother-to-child transmission campaign, with the report showing that Uganda is closer to achieving the global target of 95 per cent antiretroviral treatment coverage for HIV-positive pregnant and or breast-feeding women.

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