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Arua city grapples with shortage of HIV test kits

Oral HIV test kit. File Photo

Arua, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Several government health facilities in Arua city are struggling to offer HIV testing services amidst a shortage of testing kits. The most affected are Pajulu health center III, Adumi health center IV, Ayivuni health center III, Aroi health center III, and Oreku health center II among others.

Jimmy Itedra, the in charge of Ayivuni health center III in Ayivu division, explains that they ran out of stock of the HIV testing kits a month ago. He says that the shortage of kits is threatening efforts by the city to achieve the 95-95-95 targets of ending HIV by 2030.

In 2014, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) launched the 95-95-95 targets, which seeks to diagnose 95% of all HIV-positive individuals, provide antiretroviral therapy (ART) for 95% of those diagnosed and achieve viral suppression for 95% of those treated by 2030.

Lucy Anena, the Arua city HIV focal point person confirmed the challenge blaming it on the meager supply of kits during the last delivery circle by the national medical stores. She says they have petitioned development partners to intervene in the short term as they wait for more deliveries.

Dona Aseru, a member of the National Community of Women Living with HIV and AIDS (NACWOLA) Arua city, says the shortfall is a great concern, which is threatening their HIV/AIDS prevention efforts. She notes that there is a need to ensure a steady supply of the kits, which is very key to the elimination of HIV.

Arua city has an HIV prevalence rate of 3.1 percent among adults aged 12 to 64. Despite the low HIV prevalence, identification and retention of new HIV-positive clients is still a big challenge in the city.



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