National rates of new HIV cases remain substantially high, keeping Uganda off the Joint United Nations Programme on HIVAids (UNAIDS) target of having zero new infections by end of 2015.
Latest estimates by Uganda Aids Commission (UAC) show that 380 new infections (also called incident HIV) occur daily. This implies that annually, 138,700 new infections are added to the already 1.6 million people living with HIV. These statistics make Uganda the third leading contributor of new HIV infections in Africa after Nigeria and South Africa.
UAC chairperson Christine Ondoa, said the proportion of Ugandans living with HIV, an incurable infection, has remained relatively stable during the past few years but infection rates are increasing in some populations.
“Multiple sexual partners, especially for most at-risk populations such as fisher folk and long-distance truck drivers, unprotected sex among youths and complacency remain the main causes of the increasing HIV infection,” said Dr Ondoa.
Inadequate comprehensive knowledge about the transmission of HIV also remains high. Other causes of high incidence include early marriage and economic disparities which lead youths to engage in cross-generational or transactional sexual relationships.
But improved access to treatment has greatly reduced new infections, especially among babies. The infection rate fell from 28,000 babies in 2008 to 8,000 babies in 2014.
To bridge the knowledge gap challenge, UAC recently launched the National HIVAids Documentation and Information Centre (NADIC) to provide local knowledge in an effort to improve informed decision-making.
Source : The Observer