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Amuru leaders alarmed by high HIV prevalence

The Assistant District Health Officer of Amuru, Margaret Odokonyero Okot

Amuru, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT  |  Health officials in Amuru are alarmed by the high rate of HIV prevalence among the youth population in the district. The epidemic stands at 6.4 percent.

Records from the district Community-Based Department indicate that the youth form 27 percent, women 49 percent while the elderly 24 percent of the total over 300,000 people.

Uganda Population-Based HIV Impact Assessment (UPHIA) conducted from August 2016 to March 2017 reveals that the prevalence stood among adults at 6.2% while 7.6% and 4.7% among females and males respectively.

Margaret Odokonyero Okot, the Assistant District Health Officer says the high prevalence is attributed to influx of traders and long-distance truck drivers along the great north road to South Sudan.

Okot also disclosed that the movement by commercial charcoal burners from central Uganda to townships of Pabbo, Atiak, Otwee and emerging fishing community on the River Nile bank and landing site precipitated risky sexual behaviours in Amuru.   

In December 2018, Ministry of Health has been carrying out outreaches for women, adolescents and youth to improve adolescents’ sexual and reproductive health in far-fetched hard to reach rural areas.

According to Apollo Kalanzi, an official with the Ministry says in collaboration with the district, they have been undertaking integrated health outreaches to increase uptake of HIV/AIDS-related services through awareness creation.

The 2016 Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) indicates that Uganda’s HIV epidemic has not changed pattern over the past 30 and the prevalence has consistently been higher among women than men. Only 38.5 percent of young women and men aged 15-24 could correctly identify ways of preventing the sexual transmission of HIV.

The statistics also show that Uganda’s adult HIV prevalence rate is 6.5 percent. The country is home to some 1.4 million PLHIV, and roughly 800,000 children under the age of 17 and an estimated 28,000 Ugandans have died of AIDS-related causes.

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