More than 40,000 people who have undergone voluntary HIV counseling and testing in West Nile are living positively with the HIV virus a report from the ministry of health has revealed.
More than 40,000 people who have undergone voluntary HIV counseling and testing in West Nile are living positively with the HIV virus, a report from the Ministry of Health has revealed.
The report that was released to the media by the district health officer Arua, Dr. Patrick Anguzu, on Wednesday also put the prevalence rate of the pandemic to 4.9 percent up from the former report that was at 2.8 some ten years ago.
According to the National census of 2002, the West Nile district combined had a population of 2.8 million people and since then other indicative planning figures from the district planning units indicates that the population has grown to about 3 million people.
Dr. Anguzu says the rise in the percentage of the prevalence rate indicates that people have gone back to risky sexual behaviour that aids in the further spread of the disease in the population. He identified some of the causes of the rising number of infections to both men and women having more than one sexual partner.
He says; according to the reports released by the ministry, 25 percent of men in the country still have more than one sexual partner as opposed to four percent for women which means the high population of the region is in a big problem because they don’t know their status.
Dr. Anguzu says another contributing factor to the further spread of the disease is the use of ARV’s that makes people to look healthy because at the end of the day they end up confusing people who are not yet infected as they would not disclose that they have HIV.
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As West Nile border DR. Congo and South Sudan, another factor that has led to rising prevalence rate is truck drivers and poverty. Because of this, Henry Lulu, the regional coordinator of Aids Information Center Arua branch says they have opened VCT centers all over the region to do mass counseling and testing of couples and have also embarked, with government, on a mass circumcision exercise since it helps to reduce the chances of infection by at least 60 percent.
Since the mass circumcision was launched in West Nile six months ago at least 7000 people have so far been circumcised in both government and private centers established by the HIV Aids program implementing partners.
According to the health authorities if people move to change their attitudes from having many sexual partners to having one and those infected keeping their status the situation would change in the near future.
40000 living with hiv in west nile
ministry of health