The HIV incidence rate in Uganda was the third highest in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2014. There are 1.5 million people living with HIV and a 7% HIV prevalence.
As is shown in the graph below, HIV prevalence decreased in the 1990s; however, since the introduction of anti-retroviral drugs, HIV incidence has been increasing. People have become more careless in their sexual practices as they now believe that if they contract HIV, they can simply take anti-retrovirals and live a long and prosperous life.
HIV is transmitted through body fluids to include blood, semen and breast milk. The main interventions have previously focused HIV transmitted through sexual contact and educating on condom use and condom distribution. However, the key drivers of HIV incidence are the following: 1.) high risk sexual behavior, to include early sexual debut, multiple sexual partners, and inconsistent condom use; 2.) low individual level risk perception; 3.) high STI prevalence; 4.) low utilization of antenatal care and breast feeding education; 5.) safe male circumcision services; 6.) sub-optimal scale up of ART; and 7.) gender inequalities including gender based violence. Further, the rate of HIV is higher in women (8.3%) than in men (6.1%).
A comprehensive policy that attempts to address the many issues that face women would greatly assist in lowering the incidence rate in Uganda. In an effort to stay aligned with President Museveni’s National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan 2015/2016 – 2019/2020, President Museveni should also write and enforce an education policy to be implemented in the local hospitals around the country. (See link for more information on the National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan 2015/2016 – 2019/2020 nsp2015.)
This education policy should attempt to deliver key health messages specific to the key drivers that affect HIV incidence in women and children, specifically early sexual debut, multiple sexual partners, antenatal care, and gender inequalities.