HIV/Aids is more prevalent among women and adolescent girls than it is among their male counterparts, according to a new study.
The epidemiology survey, conducted by International Community of Women Living with HIV/ Aids in East Africa (ICWEA), shows that 58 per cent of people living with the virus in sub-Saharan Africa are women.
“HIV prevalence continues to be high among women and young women. The situation has continued escalating in the country. In Uganda, it was noted that since women constitute a big portion of the population, the HIV prevalence is higher among women than men by the ratio of 7:3.6. The increasing HIV prevalence and incident rates in the country imply an increasing impact of the epidemic on women,” Ms Lillian Mworeko, the ICWEA Country Director, said.
The Director for Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ms Jane Mpangi, said HIV has remained more prevalent among women and adolescent girls over the years despite efforts by women organisations to tackle the scourge
“Women are diverse throughout the country but there are issues that should unite us. Since 1986, it has been women tackling issues of HIV. The scourge still continues to escalate among women as years go by,” Ms Mpangi said.
“The country has been privileged to have women organisations in urban and rural areas that help women with HIV, but these have limited access to funding. The organisations are mainly involved in policy, advocacy and rights issues. However, there is a significant gap in the national response where issues affecting women are not entrenched in the national priorities,” Ms Mworeko said.
She added: “Lack of access to funding limits women’s participation and influence in addressing HIV infections among women and girls.”
The activists called for more funding for women HIV organisations to enable them address the critical aspects of the pandemic. They also called for a law to fight HIV/Aids and asked government to priotise healthcare above infrastructure development, which is currently taking a lion’s share of the national Budget.