ABOUT WORLD AIDS DAY
WHAT IS WORLD AIDS DAY?
World AIDS Day is held on the 1st December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day, held for the first time in 1988.
HIV/AIDS is a development issue and security crisis globally and at country levels. There is need to intensify the response underpinned by evidence on the dynamics of the epidemic in different contexts and the effectiveness of employed approaches and interventions. Uganda's response to HIV/AIDS has generated a wealth of information and knowledge.
We provide tools for promoting sharing of information and learning from experiences, as well as information on the status and trends of the epidemic in the country, highlight challenges and proposals for the way forward to addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic at the community, district and national levels.
We Provide the Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation of the HIV/AIDS related activities in the country in order to harmonize response to HIV/AIDS and its effects. ABA Foundation is expected to provide some leadership by ensuring effective harmonization of the HIV/AIDS related activities of the various players within agreed policy and program parameters.
Uganda is often held up as a model for Africa in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Strong government leadership, broad-based partnerships and effective public education campaigns all contributed to a decline in the number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the 1990s But the number has tripled from 6%
Although there is a lot to learn from Uganda’s comprehensive and timely campaign against the AIDS epidemic, emphasizing Uganda’s success story must not detract us from the devastating consequences that AIDS continues to have across the country: personally, socially and economically.
There are an estimated three million people living with HIV in Uganda, which includes 300,000 children. An estimated 65,000 people died from AIDS in 2014 and about two million children have been orphaned by Uganda's devastating epidemic.
AIDS has had a devastating impact on Uganda. It has killed approximately six million people, and significantly reduced life expectancy. AIDS has depleted the country’s labor force, reduced agricultural output and food security. It has weakened educational and health services. The large number of AIDS related deaths amongst young adults has left behind about two million orphaned children.
People living with HIV and AIDS in Uganda not only face difficulties related to treatment and management of the disease, but they also have to deal with AIDS related stigma and discrimination. Stigma and discrimination towards those infected and affected by AIDS are visible at all levels of society from families and local communities to the government. Ugandan president Gen. Yoweri Museveni himself supported the policy of dismissing or not promoting members of the armed forces who test HIV positive, and in 2006 he suggested that a rival presidential candidate Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye was unsuitable for office obecause he was allegedly infected with the virus. Discrimination has also been reported in the private sector, including mandatory HIV testing for new employees. As well as hurting those affected, such attitudes are a major hindrance to prevention and treatment efforts.
The current HIV prevalence in Uganda is estimated at about 16.4% among adults and 1.7% among children. HIV prevalence is higher in urban areas (20% prevalence) than rural areas (12%). Perhaps as a result of earlier prevention programs targeting young, single adults, the number of new HIV infections among those in monogamous relationships is now significantly higher than those with multiple partners (63 percent compared to 24 percent in 2009).
Women are disproportionately affected, accounting for 67% of all adults living with HIV. Ugandan women tend to marry and become sexually active at a younger age than their male counterparts, and often have older and more sexually experienced partners. This (plus various biological and social factors) puts young women at greater risk of infection.
The number of new infections (an estimated 222,000 in 2013) exceeds the number of annual AIDS deaths (estimate of 72,000 in 2013), and it is feared that HIV prevalence in Uganda is rapidly rising again. There are many theories as to why this is happening, including the government’s shift towards abstinence-only prevention programs, and a general complacency of ‘AIDS-fatigue’. It has been suggested that antiretroviral drugs have changed the perception of AIDS from a death sentence to a treatable, manageable disease; this has greatly reduced the fear surrounding HIV, and led to a great increase of AIDS.