Suspects to undergo mandatory HIV/Aids test 

A nurse takes blood samples for HIV testing during the World Aids Day celebrations in Kampala in 2017. PHOTO | RACHEL MABALA 

Suspects arrested by the police will now be subjected to mandatory HIV/Aids, malaria and Tuberculosis (TB) screening at the police stations, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has announced.

The screening programme aims at ensuring the right to health for employees of the justice and law sector, victims of crime and suspects through early detection of the aforementioned diseases.

“It is an overall project of enhancing access to medical services and removing barriers to the uptake of HIV/Aids and malaria services in the criminal justice system entirely. But for now, the focus is on HIV, TB, and malaria under the global fund project,” Mr William Byansi, the deputy DPP said during the launch of the programme at the Jinja Road Police Station in Kampala yesterday.

He added: “We realised that the first point of contact with the public and the criminal justice system is the police stations where people are arrested and taken into detention from where they are processed and maybe they are taken to courts or prisons. So at this point, if we do the testing and know who is okay and who is not, who needs help, who needs medication, we believe we can save every person.” 

The programme will be implemented in the 16 stations under the Kampala Metropolitan police. They include Jinja Road, Kiira Road, Kawempe, Katwe, Kabalagala, Kasangati, Entebbe, Kawempe, Nagalama, Nateete, Wandegeya, Old Kampala, CPS Kampala, and SIU Kireka.

State prosecutor Proscovia Ayebare, the brain behind the project, said the three illnesses pose a very great health threat. 

“A prisoner who has left Jinja Road police with Tuberculosis has the capability to infect those he has been incarcerated with and those he will find in the court holding cells. He has the capability to infect the magistrate and the prosecutor standing in court and the whole public,” she said.

The Internal Affairs minister, Gen Kahinda Otafiire, said efforts are being made to construct more prison facilities to accomodate the ever-growing population which is now about 44 million.

Dr Emanuel Niwamanya, the deputy director of Health Services in police, said the programme is timely and it will complement their services.


Medical statistics show that more than 1.4 million Ugandans live with HIV/Aids and an estimated about 223 people get infected with TB every day. Malaria is the leading killer disease in the country with more than 90 percent of the population at risk.