Uganda has experienced HIV prevalence among adults aged 15 – 49 years fall from 7.3% to 6.0% according to the Ministry of Health.
According to the results of the 2016 Uganda Population HIV Impact Assessment (UPHIA) released in Kampala on Thursday, prevalence remains high among Ugandan women compared to men.
Minister of Health Jane Ruth Aceng told journalists that 7.5% of women are living with HIV compared to 4.3% of men. However, the report indicates that HIV prevalence has declined across socio-demographic subgroups and across the country mainly due to a reduction in the number of new infections and suppression of the viral load which is at 60%.
Based on the survey results, the total number of adults and children of all ages living with HIV in Uganda is estimated to be approximately 1.3 million.
The nationwide survey was conducted to provide estimates of HIV incidence, HIV prevalence, viral load suppression, syphilis, hepatitis B infection, and other important HIV/AIDS programme indicators. Data were collected in all districts of the country from a sample of households that are representative of the Ugandan population. The survey was conducted from August 2016 to March 2017 from 12,483 households and achieved very high participation rates of over 95% for both interviews and blood draws. A total of 16,670 women and 12,354 men aged 15-64 years were interviewed and tested for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B. In addition, 10,345 children aged 0-14 years were tested, including 6,527 aged 0-4 years and 3,818 aged 5-14 years.
The magnitude of HIV varied considerably among the ten geographic regions in the survey, from a low of 2.8% in West-Nile; 3.4% in North East region; 4.4% in East Central (or Busoga region); 4.8% in Mid-East region; 5.5% in Mid-West region; 6.6% in Kampala; 7.4% in Central 2 (Greater Mubende, Luwero and Mukono); 7.6% in Central 1 region (greater Masaka); to 7.7% in South Western region. This is similar to the findings of the 2011 Uganda AIDS Indicator Survey (UAIS) when Mid-Eastern showed the lowest, and Central 1 the highest estimated HIV prevalence.
Syphilis and hepatitis B
The prevalence of active syphilis among adults aged 15 – 49 years was 1.9% (2% among women, and 1.8% among men). This was similar to the findings in 2011 in which the prevalence of syphilis was 1.8%. The prevalence of active hepatitis B infection among adults was 4.3% (5.6% among men and 3.1% among women). Hepatitis B prevalence was highest in the Northern Region: Mid North (4.6%), followed by North East (4.4%), and West Nile (3.8%). Hepatitis B infection was lower in the rest of the country with a range of 0.8% in the South West region to 2.7% in East Central Region.
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. Furthermore, almost 60% 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. In spite of the progress that has been made, the burden of HIV infection in the country is still unacceptably high. More prevention, awareness creation, and treatment is needed for those 15-29 years. These results call for concerted efforts from all stakeholders for scale up of evidence-based interventions for sustainable HIV epidemic control.