Uganda MoH has released a preliminary report of its findings from the Aids Indicator survey. Data were collected between February and September 2011.
This survey was designed to enable data to be compared with those collected during the previous survey in 2004-5.
The prevalence of male circumcision, 23%, has not changed since the last survey and there are only small variations in the data by age groups. This indicates that there is little change in the practice of MC over time. The prevalence of MC for reasons of faith, culture or tradition continues as before.
There are wide variances of MC prevalence across the country and across wealth quintiles, men in the higher wealth quintiles are more likely to be circumcised. About 35% of men in Kampala are circumcised whereas prevalence is less than 6% of men living in the north of Uganda.
Knowledge of HIV Transmission
About 75% of adults are able to say that remaining faithful to one uninfected partner and always using a condom are ways of reducing the risk of becoming infected with the AIDS virus, HIV.
The survey also identified the numbers of those with misconceptions about how HIV is transmitted. Just less than 50% of adults think that HIV can be transmitted by mosquito bites and up to a quarter think that you might become infected by sharing food with a person living with HIV.
Comprehensive knowledge measures those that can state the two means of reducing HIV infection, know that a health-looking person can have HIV and can also reject the two most common misconceptions. Interestingly the survey shows that less than 40% can be counted as having comprehensive knowledge; so there is still room for improvement in the way in which we are delivering the prevention message.
Stigma and Discrimination
There is a section in the survey which attempts to uncover attitudes towards people living with HIV. Stigma and discrimination are still issues that will need to be addressed. These can lead people to stay in denial and refuse to come forward for counselling and testing, an essential first step in the prevention campaign. Others may keep their infection secret from others, which in turn may lead to further transmission.
The most likely mechanism for transmission of HIV in Uganda is through unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected partner (heterosexual). There are growing concerns about the increasing prevalence of those with multiple concurrent partners, MCP.
The survey asks a number of different questions related to this. I think the most interesting result is that less than 16% reported using a condom during their last sexual intercourse, which when combined with the admitted numbers of multiple partners is a worrying trend. This presents an interesting dichotomy between what people state as knowledge (be faithful and use a condom) and actual behaviour.
Prevalence rates might be increasing, this survey indicates the overall rate to be 6.7%, which is higher than the previous 6.4% but this movement may not be statistically significant. Prevalence among women is higher, 7.7%, than in men, 5.5%.
A later press release by the MoH stated the prevalence rate as 7.3%, which means as many as 1 in every 13 adults in Uganda are HIV positive.
You can access the survey report here: http://t.co/98S1RkUe