HIV infections in Uganda continue to decline as the health ministry commits to continue with efforts to achieve the zero infections.
While opening the High Level Symposium on Lab Diagnostic Strategy for Eradication of HIV, TB and malaria at Speke Resort Munyonyo this morning, the minister of health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng revealed that HIV prevalence has declined from 18% in 1990 to the current 6%.
Dr. Aceng explained that the prevalence were high in the early 90s due to lack of laboratories to carry out tests. Patients who tested for HIV had to wait for months before getting their results from the Blood bank which took their samples.
Most of them would later give up on waiting and abandon their results, most of which were positive.
This meant that such people continued spreading the virus unknowingly. But now the minister says, measure have been put in.place to ensure that individuals are tested across the country.
With the introduction of prevention of mother to child transmission, several children have been saved from the virus that could have been passed on by mothers as in the early 90s.
Currently, government through the health ministry is working hard to ensure that 90% of Ugandans get tested for HIV, 90% of people living with HIV access ARVs and 90% of those receiving ARVs surpress the viral load. Minister Aceng says her ministry is committed to fighting HIV/AIDS, with over 1 million people accessing treatment.
"The ministry remains committed to ensure better healthcare by focusing on achieving health for all" the minister said.
The symposium has attracted over 400 hospital heads and lab attendants as well as staff from Abbot, the official partners.
Hospital heads raised concerns that they are being sued for issuing wrong HIV results due to fake HCT machines. They want government to revise this.
Dr. Robert Downing explained that a new machine has been invented to test and give conslusive results, recommending a patient to start on ARVs without following up on the CD4. But, that in the meantime, the CD4 will be incorporated in.
Dr. Joshua Musinguzi the program manager at ACP says they are working with several partners to train communities on taking confirmation tests tomake sure they are ready for HIV without any details left behind.