By ABCafrica reporter,
Uganda’s Adult HIV prevalence drops to 6.0 percent from 7.3 per cent, according to the recently released 2016 Uganda Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (UPHIA) Survey Results. According to the survey, approximately 1.3 million people (adults and children) are living with HIV in Uganda.
Adult HIV prevalence was higher among women at 7.5 per cent compared to 4.3 per cent among men. It was also higher among residents of urban areas 7.1 per cent compared to 5.5 per cent in rural areas. The HIV prevalence among young people 15 – 24 years was 2.1 per cent . Among adults, HIV prevalence is lowest in those 15-19 years. It is highest among men aged 45 to 49, at 14.0 per cent. Among women, HIV prevalence is highest in the age groups of 35 to 39 years and 45 to 49 years, at 12.9 per cent and 12.8 per cent, respectively.
The survey also established the rates of suppressed HIV viral load (VLS), which is a marker of effective treatment. “People living with HIV (PLHIV) with suppressed viral load live longer, have fewer complications due to HIV, and are less likely to transmit the virus to others. UPHIA showed that adults age 15-49 years had a VLS of 57.4 per cent; this finding shows that with support from development partners such as PEPFAR, Global Fund and others, the Government of Uganda’s HIV programme is having an impact and making great progress toward the UNAIDS and national goal of having population level VLS of at least 73 per cent by 2020”, says a Ministry of Health source. The source further says; Male circumcision is one of the strategies for HIV prevention in Uganda. “The proportion of men aged 15-49 years that are circumcised has increased from 26 per cent in 2011 to 43 per cent in this survey”, adds the source.
While releasing the results, Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng; said the preliminary results of 2016 UPHIA demonstrate that Uganda has made significant progress in the national HIV response. “HIV prevalence has declined across socio-demographic sub groups and across the country. This decline may be a result of falling new HIV infections.” She noted.
Furthermore, almost 60 per cent of people living with HIV (PLHIV) have suppressed viral load which means that treatment programs are successfully reaching the majority of the population with HIV.