HIV/AIDS prevalence among youth in Kabarole, Western Uganda is turning out to be big threat to future generations, as those enrolled on medication are disappearing.
Catherine Kemigabo, the Kabarole District Health Educator and HIV focal person said the district currently has 2,922 youth between 10-24 years of age who are HIV-positive and on antiretroviral treatment (ART). Kemigabo is also a board member of PLATFORM for the NEEDY (PLANE).
“Most of our youth are running away from taking the drugs,” she said. “Ten percent of these disappeared on ART, and are nowhere to be traced. Currently over 27,368 people are on ART care in Kabarole and Fort Portal.”
Kemigabo said from July to September of 2021, they tested 3,252 people in the Out Patient Department (OPD), and 105 were found positive. For index testing, including children, out of the 441 tested, 97 were found positive, and for community testing platforms, 682 tested and 53 were found positive.
Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC) communications officer Kemigisha Joanita said that women are the most diagnosed with HIV, with 6.8% prevalence countrywide compared to men at 3.9%.
“Uganda receives 21,000 new infections, and 10,000 men got HIV as per the 2021 report,” she said. She attributed the increase in new infections to people’s negative attitudes toward condom usage.
About HIV/AIDS in Kabarole
In the newly released report by Uganda AIDS Commission, 2020 has ranked Kabarole district in Western Uganda as the district with the second-highest HIV/AIDs prevalence rate, standing at 14.6%. Previously, the district’s prevalence rate had reduced to 7.3%.
Kabarole district comes second after Kalangala district, which is at 18.8% while Mbarara, now a city, is the third at 13.1%. The national HIV/AIDs prevalence rate, according to the Ministry of Health in 2020, was 5.4% among adults 15-49 years old.
Kemigabo said Kabarole district now has a total of 27,368 people living with HIV/AIDs who are receiving care, of which 2,922 are youth between 10-24 years old. In 2018, the total number of people in care was 24,000.
The Uganda Aids Commission report indicates that there are 1.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS, of which 38,000 are new infections and 22,000 deaths. The prevalence rate is high in females at 6.8%, while in males is at 3.9%.
Of people living with HIV/AIDS, a total of 490,000 are male (where 11,000 are new infections), while 820,000 are female (where 21,000 are new infections).
A total of 170,000 are young people living with HIV/AIDS, of which 14,000 are new infections. In children, there are 98,000 living with HIV/AIDs, of which 5,300 are new infections.