Uganda HIV Cases Rise in Drivers

The Strengthening Knowledge Management and Communications Capacity (KMCC) Project has found that HIVAIDS cases continue to rise among fishing communities, long distance truck drivers, sex workers and miners.

The 3 year project that ended last week found that in islands fishing communities, the prevalence of the HIVAIDS is up to 40%, with most locals contracting the virus because of unfounded myths.

According to Sarah Margiotta the KMCC Project Manager people need capacity building in knowledge management because they found that people no longer fear HIVAIDS.

“Can you imagine people believe that when you have sex in the waters you can’t get HIVAIDS? Others attempt to differentiate the old HIVAids from the New HIVAids. The old AIDS used to malnourish people but the new AIDS doesn’t malnourish people,” Margiotta said.

Margiotta said they brought together 9 findings from researchers and practitioners to develop recommendations to reduce HIV especially in most at risk populations such as sex workers and fishing communities.

Their research will be used to inform the government’s Global Fund Application, the review of the National Strategic Plan, national behavior change communications and to aocate for members of parliament mobilization to instigate change in fishing communities.

The UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) funded project says the effect of HIV among long distance drivers will see a gradual diminishing of skills and experience, serious fall in the productivity and efficiency of the transport sector, loss of earnings and breakdown of families.

It is believed by the International Labour Organization that HIVAIDS will lower economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa by as much as 25% by 2020 because infected workers will die or become sick in their most productive years.

Margiotta believes that the private sector in Uganda should mobilize funds to help reduce the HIVAIDS growing rate by sensitizing communities about the scourge.

Margiotta says that making condoms, testing for HIV, counseling and treatment for HIVSTIs easily available in places frequented by long distance truck drivers, engaging sex workers in behavior change activities in places frequented by long distance truck drivers and addressing fatalistic attitudes will do a long way in preventing HIVAIDS scourge in Uganda.

Source : East African Business Week

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