By Violet Nabatanzi

KAMPALA, Dec 22 — Uganda’s government needs about 2.2 trillion shillings (about 637 million US dollars) for HIV/AIDS response by the year 2016, in order to procure anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs, HIV test kits and other related supplies, says Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, the State Minister of Health.

The government plans to increase the number of people on treatment to about 1.4 million within the same time frame, he added at the presentation of preliminary findings of the “Countdown to 2015: Getting to Zero” campaign against HIV/AIDS here over the weekend.

By the middle of this year, a total of 680,514 people were enrolled on ARV treatment out of the 1,447,859 people who required the drugs, according to President Yoweri Museveni, whose speech was read by Vice-President Edward Ssekandi.

The president said AIDS-related deaths had been “significantly reduced” thanks to expanded coverage in treatment and compared the performance today with that of 10 years ago when only 40,000 Ugandans were enrolled on ARV treatment.

Museveni said mostly young people should be targeted with HIV/AIDS messages. “I am glad to learn that a message-clearing committee has been set up to scrutinize all HIV/AIDS messages that are disseminated to our communities.”

According to the president, the four-year National HIV/AIDS strategic plan 2011/12-2014/15 and the national HIV prevention strategic plan 2011-2015 had shown momentous achievements in the fight against the disease in the recent past.

In the last three years alone, there has been a reduction in the number of people found to have new infections — from 162,000 in 2011 to 137,00 in 2013.

Meanwhiile, Tumwesigye said the uptake of HIV counseling and testing had increased to 66 per cent among females and 46 per cent among males, up from less than 14 per cent in 2004/2005.


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