February 6, 2012
Uganda has launched a new HIV/AIDS prevention strategy for the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 2015, a senior ministry of health official said Wednesday. Objectives include adopting of a more cost-effective treatment regimen, improving health infrastructure, and increasing women's access to family planning.
Uganda's HIV prevalence among pregnant women is 6.5 percent, which amounts to 90,000 HIV-positive pregnant women annually, said Zainab Akol, program manager at the AIDS Control Program. About 25,000 babies are infected each year. "We in the ACP and our partners are fully determined to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the next five years," Akol said.
Uganda began offering ARVs to prevent mother-to-child HIV infections in 2000, and it introduced a combination regimen to the program in 2006. However, delivery of the drugs has not been consistent -- a problem the new plan aims to address.
Of the nearly 1.2 million people who have HIV in Uganda, more than 200,000 were infected perinatally; the majority are women; and 10 percent are children under age 15, Akol said. As part of its prevention strategy, Uganda's AIDS information center will implement a circumcision campaign targeting males ages 15-59.