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Uganda losing fight against HIV/Aids, UN official says

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By  AGENCIES

Posted  Saturday, May 18   2013 at  01:00

In Summary

The number of new infections has risen from 124,000 in 2009 to 128,000 in 2010 and approximately 145,000 in 2011.

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Tables are turning on the Uganda HIV/Aids success story. The gains made in the last two decades are fast getting eroded by the increasing number of new infections.

A top UNAIDS official has expressed concern that the country is losing the fight against HIV/Aids, with the infection rates steadily rising.

Mr Musa Bungudu, the UNAIDS country coordinator, says Uganda is the only country in the Eastern and Southern Africa with rising HIV/Aids infection rates.

According to the 2011 National HIV Indicator Survey, the prevalence rates among Ugandans between the ages of 15 to 19 are going up. It now stands at 7.3 per cent and even higher in women at 8.3 per cent up from 6.4 per cent in the 2004-2005 survey.

Mr Bungudu says he is disheartened that it was Uganda that was at the forefront of managing, planning, implementing and monitoring HIV/Aids for almost two decades, but is now taking lessons from other countries.

The main forms of infection remain unprotected sex and from pregnant HIV positive mothers to their babies. Mr Bunguda calls on government to learn from the mistakes made before and pick lessons to forge a way forward.

Prevention
This can only be done if the prevention message is moved from city centres to districts up country especially by the political leaders starting with the President, district and religious leaders, he says.
The number of new infections has risen from 124,000 in 2009 to 128,000 in 2010 and approximately 145,000 in 2011.

Dr Kihumuro Apuuli, the Director General Uganda Aids Commission, notes that if new infections continue to rise, the HIV burden is projected to increase by more than 700,000 over the next five years.
He says about 25,000 babies will be born with the infection each year.