HIV testing during medical camp
HIV/AIDS Awareness and Prevention Program
URF provides free HIV testing and counseling through a partnership with Uganda Cares, a local health organization offering care to AIDS patients. We facilitate transportation for patients to get treatment, medication, and counseling, from the Uganda Cares clinic in Masaka. Regulary URF holds workshops including talks on AIDS prevention done by health professionals and AIDS researchers.
Background on HIV/AIDS, TB and MALARIA
HIV/AIDS: In Uganda, it is estimated that the cumulative number of people who have been infected with HIV is about 2,000,000. About 1 million have died of AIDS and 1,107,644 are living with HIV/AIDS.
HIV prevalence ranges from 2.8 to 6.6% (average 4.1) according to the UNAIDS report 2003. This is a decline from the average of 6.5% HIV prevalence in 2002. This decline is attributed to the strong national government and non-government agencies’ prevention efforts to date.
Denial, stigma and discrimination continue to exist in communities despite the numerous efforts that have been made to educate the communities. This has contributed to low attendance at Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) and Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) services.
Whereas heterosexual behaviors remain the major mode of HIV transmission (over 90%), mother to child transmission has increasingly been noted as another area of concern. The availability of Anti Retro Virals (ARVs) has improved and prolonged the lives of the people living with AIDS. These developments have led to new challenges which require new information, education and communication frameworks.
The low risk perception by individuals, in some cohorts especially the youth and other vulnerable groups has negatively affected behavior change. Sadly, the reported decline in the HIV prevalence has made people complacent, leading to higher risks of increased infections. This therefore requires integration of life skills building and innovation in the way information, education and communication are disseminated.
Local culture also limits parent-child dialogue, particularly issues related to sex education. Sex is considered sacred in most indigenous cultures and so many Ugandans do not share sex-related issues in public.
HIV/AIDS, Malaria Control and Health Care Management Programme:
General Health is a pre-requisite for a productive community and consequently poverty reduction. In Uganda, ill health was the most frequently cited cause and consequence of poverty in the 1999-Uganda Participatory Poverty Assessment Process (UPPAP) study. Improving health is therefore essential to reducing poverty and facilitating economic development. HIV/AIDS and Malaria are the most significant threat to the health of the target community. Currently, they both account for 45% of all outpatient visits at health centers and 20% of inpatient death.
It is estimated that families spend up to 50% of all household income on HIV/AIDS care and Malaria treatment, they both account for up to 40% of all man-hours lost per annum which has big implications on the affected families and the nation at large.