Uganda To Start Universal Treatment of HIV in October

1771 Views Jinja, Uganda

In short
Dr Joshua Musinguzi, the Aids Control Program Manager at the Ministry of Health says the ministry has finalised the plan to test and treat all those found HIV positive.

Uganda's Ministry of Health will in October  start implementing the proposed universal treatment of persons living with HIV.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with URN from Jinja, Dr Joshua Musinguzi, the Aids Control Program Manager said that the ministry has finalised the plan to test and treat all those found HIV positive.

He says Uganda has so far rolled out treatment to 875,000 people, out of the 1.5 million Ugandans who need antiretroviral treatment - ARVs. The ministry policy has been giving priority to key populations at risk such as expectant mothers, sex workers and fishing communities.

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Dr. Musinguzi says that in order to achieve this commitment, the ministry has mobilised health workers who will be moving into communities to get those who are not yet tested.

He notes that the ministry expects the exercise to cost 6 million US dollars.He revealed that the ministry is engaging  support partners such as Global Fund to mobilise for funding.

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A report released last year by the Ministry of Health indicates that the number of new infections dropped to 127,000 cases in 2014, down from 137,000 recorded in the year 2013. 

This shows that HIV infections have had a successive drop over the last four years since 2012 when about 140,000 new infections were recorded. In 2011, there were 160,000 new infections.

Musinguzi added that when they start testing and treating the number of new infections will reduce because most people will have  viral suppression.

The World Health Organisation revised guidelines released in September 2015 require that all persons who test positive to HIV be enrolled for antiretroviral therapy as soon after diagnosis as possible.

With the treat-all recommendation, WHO removed all limitations on eligibility for antiretroviral therapy (ART) among people living with HIV, making all populations and age groups eligible for treatment.

The expanded use of antiretroviral treatment is supported by recent findings from clinical trials confirming that early use of ART keeps people living with HIV alive, healthier and reduces the risk of transmitting the virus to partners.

According to UNAIDS estimates, expanding ART to all people living with HIV and expanding prevention choices can help avert 21 million AIDS-related deaths and 28 million new infections by 2030. 

 

About the author

Beatrice Nyangoma
Beatrice Nyangoma values her independence as a journalist. This was one of her major considerations before she became a URN staffer in 2015.

Nyangoma says, "I like URN because it gives me room to decide what stories I want to work on. That is so important to me."

The URN Jinja bureau chief since July 2016, Nyangoma considers health matters a beat close to her heart. One of the highlights of her career so far were her exclusive interviews unveiling the rot in Mulago hospital in early 2016.

Nyangoma started out writing for the Red Pepper newspaper in 2011 in her final year of university. She was majorly a health reporter. In 2012, Nyangoma moved to Top Television as a health, business reporter and weekend news editor. She was also the assistant editorial manager of Kabarole Research and Resource Centre FM (KRC FM).