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Training of health workers on rapid HIV recency testing starts in Tooro

FILE PHOTO: HIV

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Health has started training health workers on the new measures aimed at combating HIV/Aids.

According to Geoffrey Taasi, the Program Officer HIV Testing Services at the Ministry of Health, the “Rapid HIV Recency Assay”, is aimed at establishing where new infections are highest in each district so that appropriate action can be taken.

The training will be carried out in Kamwenge, Kabarole and Bunyangabu districts.

Taasi explains that the new intervention is different from the current measures where people who test positive are enrolled on anti-retroviral therapy.

He says that with the new intervention, whose technology has been imported from the U.S, people will be tested with a major aim of establishing whether the infection is new meaning it was acquired in the previous 12 months from the date of testing or long term which means it was acquired more than a year before the date of testing.

Also, more data like where the patients stay, identities of their partners, among others, will also be captured in the system.

Taasi notes that this intervention comes after they have established that averagely, there over 100 new HIV/Aids infections in the country daily, a figure he says is high.

Charles Opolot, the Head Communication Baylor Uganda – a non-government organization providing family-centered pediatric HIV/AIDS prevention, says that even though it is the first of its kind in Uganda, it will achieve results, given the fact that it is combining the already known technology with new technology.

The intervention will be partly funded by President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief – PEPFAR, a U.S. government’s response to the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, and represents the largest commitment by any nation to address a single disease in history.

Data from Ministry of Health indicates that last year, 25,000 people in Uganda succumbed to the disease while 50,000 got infected with it. This means that averagely, 649 people succumbed to HIV/Aids daily and 136 also got infected every day.

It is also estimated that Uganda has about 1.3 million people who are infected with HIV/Aids and of these, 1.1 million people are on anti-retroviral drugs.

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