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[afro-nets] Half Kampala sex workers have HIV

  • From: Joseph Serutoke <Serutokej@ug.afro.who.int>
  • Date: Tue, 3 May 2005 10:20:24 +0300

Half Kampala sex workers have HIV
Copied as "fair use"


By Peter Nyanzi

KAMPALA - More than 47 percent of sex workers in Kampala are in-
fected with HIV, the virus that causes Aids, an official in the
ministry of health has said.

The Commissioner for Community Health, Dr Sam Okware, was speak-
ing at a press conference at which the ministry released pre-
liminary results of the Uganda HIV/Aids Sero-Behavioural Survey
(UHSBS) at the ministry headquarters in Kampala yesterday.

World Health Organisation (WHO) country representative, Dr
Walker Oladapo attended. According to the survey presented by
the Minister of Health, Maj. Gen. Jim Muhwezi, the prevalence of
HIV/Aids is highest in the urban areas at 10.7 percent compared
to 6.4 percent in the rural areas with rates among women in ur-
ban areas almost twice as high as those in rural areas.

But overall, the survey indicates that HIV infection rates have
dropped from 18 percent in 1992 to the current figure of 7 per-
cent. It also indicates that 99 percent of Ugandans have heard
of HIV/Aids and are aware of how they can protect themselves
from the disease.

"The result shows that the government programme for HIV/Aids
control is working. The ABC strategy being implemented should be
intensified at all levels," Muhwezi said. The Director General
of Health Services, Prof Francis Omaswa, was elated with the re-
sults saying, "We are making good progress."

The survey indicates, 7 percent of women and men between 15 - 59
years of age (800,000 Ugandans) are infected with HIV. It was
conducted through interviews and took blood samples from a na-
tionally representative group of over 18,000 women and men aged
15-59 years. It showed that women are more susceptible to HIV
infection than men.

Overall, 7.9 percent of women have HIV, compared to only 6 per-
cent of men. For both sexes, HIV infection levels are highest
among those in their 30s and 40s and lowest in the 15-19 year
age group were the rate is at 3.2 percent among women and 1.2
percent in men.

The survey found that more youth are waiting to have sex with
the average age at first sex amongst respondents aged between
15-24 years standing at 17.9 for women and 19.1 for men, up from
17.3 for women and 18.3 for men in the 2000 survey.

But it is in extra marital sex that men continue to beat women.
Amongst the sexually active age group of 15-49, only 18.2 per-
cent of women reported engaging in extra marital sex in the past
12 months compared to 39.4 percent for men.

Of these, 40.5 percent of women and 49.5 percent of men said
they used a condom the last time they engaged in extra marital
sex. According to the survey, prevalence rates vary in different
regions of Uganda with the lowest rate of 2.5 percent in the
West Nile region, while the highest levels are in Buganda and
Northern region.

Joseph Serutoke