Bridging the Gaps: Uganda
Bridging the Gaps: Uganda
Bridging the Gaps is alliance of nine international organisations and networks and more than 80 local and regional organisations, working towards the end of the AIDS epidemic among key populations.
Supported by global and regional level work, Bridging the Gaps works with over 80 partner organisations in 15 countries in three regions:
• Sub-Sahara Africa: Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
• South East Asia: Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Vietnam.
• Eastern Europe and Central Asia: Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Ukraine.
In Uganda, the programme works with, and for the health and human rights of, sex workers, including those living with HIV.
Bridging the Gaps partners in Uganda work towards ending AIDS among key populations through (1) a strengthened civil society that holds government to account; (2) increased fulfilment of human rights of key populations; and (3) increased SRHR and fewer infections.
Uganda is facing a generalised HIV epidemic. An estimated 1.6 million people living with HIV (PLHIV) (1.4 million adults aged 15 and above and 190,000 children aged 0-14), and an adult (aged 15-49) HIV prevalence rate of 7.4%. There are important variations by sex and in specific regions. HIV prevalence in Uganda has consistently been higher among women compared to men since the early years of the epidemic, with women comprising about 56% of adults living with HIV. HIV prevalence among key populations is reported highest, for example the HIV prevalence rate among sex workers is 34.2%. In 2014 Uganda, together with Nigeria and South Africa, accounted for nearly half of all new HIV infections in the region. Access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) has increased significantly throughout the entire country during recent years. However, it is estimated that still only 38% of all people living with HIV (PLHIV) in Uganda are currently receiving ART. In Uganda, sex work is illegal. The Anti-Pornography Act was introduced in 2014. As a result numerous women have been harassed by the police. They were deemed ‘sexually exciting’ because of the way they looked or dressed. Police rape, and extortion and discrimination by health providers at hospitals and clinics are common for sex workers. The HIV Prevention and Control Act allows medical providers to require mandatory HIV testing for pregnant women and their partners, and to disclose a patient’s HIV status to others, violating human rights relating to consent, privacy, and bodily autonomy. Contrary to international guidelines, the new law criminalises intentional HIV transmission, attempted transmission, and behaviour that might result in transmission by those who know their HIV status. The act has been widely condemned by healthcare providers as counterproductive to national HIV goals as it will discourage people from seeking testing and treatment. Key populations continue to face huge challenges in Uganda.
Uganda faces a generalised HIV epidemic with an estimated number of 1.6 million people living with HIV. Among adults (aged 15-49) the HIV prevalence rate is 7.3%. However, among sex workers the rate is 34.2% nationally. Although sex work contributes to 11% of new HIV transmissions, it is only recently that government support to the needs of sex workers and other key populations is growing.