More Women Than Men Sought Services at Uganda’s AIDS Support Organization in 2007, Report Says
More women than men in Uganda sought services of the AIDS Support Organization, or TASO, according to a recently released TASO report, Uganda's Weekly Observer reports. TASO provides HIV testing and counseling, as well as antiretroviral drugs and other HIV/AIDS-related services.
According to the report, of the nearly 60,000 people who received counseling at TASO clinics, about 42,000 were women and about 18,000 were men. The group registered 23,800 new clients last year at its 11 clinics -- 15,323 women and 8,477 men -- the report found. Robert Nakibumba, a TASO spokesperson, said that TASO's finding that more women than men sought HIV/AIDS services reflects an international trend and could be in part because "women are free and own up to responsibilities more than men." The report found that men were more responsive to television, radio and theater dramas aimed at educating people about the disease.
Among the new clients registered last year, 8,000 were ages 20 to 51, and less than 1,000 were older than age 60, the report said. About 55% of TASO's new clients are from rural areas. About 91% of people who received counseling shared their HIV status with friends, relatives or neighbors. About 97% of roughly 26,000 TASO clients who were sexually active discussed their HIV status with someone else, and 31% told their sexual partners.
The report found that about 8,000 of the 27,000 clients screened for antiretroviral eligibility in 2007 were eligible for treatment; however, many people did not adhere to their treatment regimens. Only 323 children enrolled in the TASO's antiretroviral program, the report said, noting that there are inadequate testing services for children and an "unwillingness of some parents and guardians to take their children for [antiretroviral] screening" (Mubangizi, Weekly Observer, 5/1).