OIL MONEY! Uganda Aids Commission Warns of Potential HIV/AIDS Increase in Albertine Region

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The Director General of the Uganda Aids Commission, Dr. Nelson Musoba, has issued a warning about the potential increase in HIV/AIDS infections in the Albertine region as the commercialization of oil and gas activities in 2025 approaches.

Dr. Musoba addressed journalists at Parliament following a meeting with the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities, and State Enterprises (COSASE).

He highlighted that HIV/AIDS prevalence rates are influenced by regional activities, noting that the upcoming oil production in Hoima City could heighten the risk of HIV/AIDS spread as workers move to the area, leaving their spouses behind.

“The risk factors are linked to the activities in the region. With the high commercialization of activities in Hoima, we anticipate an influx of people, which increases the risk. People will be moving among key populations without knowing their HIV status,” Dr. Musoba explained.

High-Risk Factors and Current Statistics

Dr. Musoba pointed out that regions with highly mobile populations and high commercialization are particularly vulnerable.

Currently, Fort Portal City has the highest HIV prevalence according to 2023 data, followed by Mbarara City. Northern corridor regions, especially along highways, and lake regions also report high HIV prevalence due to commercial activities and sex work.

At an individual level, Dr Musoba expressed concern about the high prevalence rates among young people and older adults aged 40-50, attributing this trend to cross-generational sex. He noted that young girls are particularly at risk due to their limited bargaining power in practising safe sex.

“There is a very high rate of infections among young people, especially girls, who are three times more affected than boys. Older men engaging in cross-generational sex with young girls further exacerbate this issue. The power imbalance makes it difficult for young girls to negotiate for safe sex,” Dr. Musoba stated.

National HIV/AIDS Burden

Despite significant progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Uganda remains among the top five countries globally with the highest HIV burden. As of December 2022, approximately 1.4 million people in Uganda were living with HIV.

The Uganda Aids Commission reported 52,000 new infections in 2022, translating to about 1,000 new infections each week, with 70% of these new infections occurring among adolescent girls.

From 2010 to 2022, Uganda saw a 65% decline in AIDS-related deaths, decreasing from 48,000 in 2010 to 17,000 in December 2022. However, the continued rise in new infections underscores the need for targeted interventions, especially in regions experiencing economic and industrial changes.

Moving Forward

The Uganda Aids Commission stresses the importance of heightened awareness and preventive measures as the country prepares for increased industrial activity.

Ensuring that both local and incoming populations have access to HIV testing, education, and resources for safe sex practices will be crucial in mitigating the potential rise in HIV/AIDS prevalence in high-risk regions like Hoima City.

Source

Parliament of Uganda

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