The ‘pearl of Africa’ as Uganda likes to fondly refer to itself leads the East Africa region with the largest percentage of people living with HIV receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART), according to the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar).
Data from the Department of State’s Co-ordination and Oversight of Pepfar, shows between October 2018 and June last year, 93% of all people living with HIV in Uganda were on the life giving and prolonging ART.
In Tanzania, 86% of all people living with HIV were on ARTs compared to 82% of Kenyans living with HIV. Malawi tied with Uganda in the number of all people living with HIV under ARTs.
According to the review, which reviewed Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi, Uganda surpassed its second goal of 90:90:90, an ambitious global HIV programme proposed by UNAids and adopted by high prevalence member countries.
90:90:90 targets by 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy have viral suppression.
Why Uganda is ahead of her peers
According to Ugandan officials, the country is locally producing generic ARTs, which has seen the cost of these life-saving remedies drop from between $15 and $9 to between $9 and $2 per patient per month.
The latest study shows that the HIV incidence has declined to 5.6%, compared with 8.9% in 2000 following increased usage of ART. Even then, more than one-third of those infected are still not under the ART.
The study indicated Kenya’s 5.6% HIV prevalence is the highest in East Africa. Uganda is second in the region at 5.5% of the population, Tanzania 3.9% and South Sudan at 1.3%. In the larger eastern Africa, Somalia has the lowest prevalence at 0.3% followed by Ethiopia at 0.9%.