As the world prepares to observe World AIDS Day, Uganda is confronting a distressing surge in HIV/AIDS infections, with over 1,000 new cases reported each week, averaging a troubling 158 cases per day, according to the Uganda AIDS Commission.
The Uganda Population-Based HIV Impact Assessment conducted a comprehensive evaluation, revealing significant regional variations in HIV prevalence, ranging from 2.1 percent in the North East (Karamoja) region to 8.1 percent in the Central 1 region (Greater Masaka).
The country is witnessing an alarming trend with the consistent reporting of at least 1,000 new infections per week.
Dr. Cecilia Nattembo, Regional Medical Director at Uganda Cares, underlines the seriousness of the situation, stating, “The distribution of HIV prevalence across regions highlights the complexity of the challenge we face. Urgent and targeted interventions are needed to address the varying rates.”
Despite a 22% decline in new HIV infections since 2015, Uganda recorded 52,000 new infections as of December 2022, according to the Uganda AIDS Commission.
Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, Minister of Health, acknowledges the persistent high levels of new infections, stating, “While we’ve made progress, the current numbers still pose a risk to global commitments. Our focus remains on achieving the 95-95-95 targets.”
Dr. Aceng further highlights Uganda’s progress, stating, “As of today, we have achieved a 92-94-94 milestone on the 95-95-95 targets. This signifies significant strides in our efforts to control the spread of HIV/AIDS.”
Reports indicate that South Buganda and Mid North are currently experiencing the highest burden of new HIV infections, with adolescent girls aged 15-24 being the most affected, accounting for nearly four out of every five new infections.
The 2020 Uganda Population-Based HIV Impact Assessment reveals that the current HIV prevalence among adults aged 15 and above is 5.8%, a slight decrease from 6.2% in 2016. Prevalence among women stands at 7.2%, while men report a prevalence of 4.3%.
In light of these alarming statistics, Uganda grapples with the urgent need for targeted interventions and increased awareness to curb the surge in HIV/AIDS cases. These findings emphasise the significance of sustained efforts on the eve of World AIDS Day, as the nation strives to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS and ensure the well-being of its citizens.