HIV Prevalence in Uganda Drops to 6.4%, National Survey Says
Uganda's HIV prevalence has decreased from 6.5% to 6.4%, according to a national AIDS indicator survey, Uganda's New Vision reports. The survey -- which was presented on Monday by Wilford Lordson Kirungi, medical epidemiologist for the country's AIDS Control Program -- was conducted between 2004 and 2005 and involved 10,437 households chosen at random. The survey finds that HIV prevalence fell in the country, and awareness of modes of transmission increased. "Rejection of misconceptions related to HIV is widespread," the survey says, adding that "74% of women and 84% of men know that a healthy-looking person may be HIV-positive, and more than four in five know that HIV cannot be transmitted by witchcraft or by sharing food with someone who has AIDS." Kirungi said women had the highest HIV prevalence, with a 7.5% rate among girls and women ages 15 to 49. According to the survey, boys and men ages 15 to 49 had an HIV prevalence of 6.4%, while children under age five had a prevalence of 0.7%. "We also found out that circumcised men are less likely to be HIV-infected, with 3.7% versus 5.5%," Kirungi said, adding, "This was true for most categories of age groups, ethnicity, region and urban-rural residence" (New Vision, 3/14). Kirungi also said that men who had not had sexual relations in the past year had an HIV prevalence of 5.0%, while those who had engaged in sexual relations with more than three partners in the past year had an HIV prevalence of 9.0%. According to Xinhua News Agency, Uganda's success in controlling HIV/AIDS in recent years can be attributed to government-sponsored national guidelines (Xinhua News Agency, 3/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.