Uganda launches new HIV and AIDS treatment guidelines

Ugandan woman undergoing tests. PHOTO MIN OF HEALTH

Ugandan Minister of State for Health Sarah Opendi has launched new HIV and AIDS treatment guidelines.

Under the new guidelines, anyone infected with HIV should start antiretroviral therapy soon after diagnosis. All people infected with HIV will now be eligible for antiretroviral therapy, regardless of the stage of the disease or the number of CD-4 cells.

The guidelines that were launched, one of many activities to mark World AIDS Day, are aligned with the global goals that aim to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. These goals include 90% of people living with HIV aware of their HIV infection. , 90% of people receiving antiretroviral therapy and 90% of people on ART had no detectable virus in their blood.

With this “test and treat” recommendation, all limitations on eligibility for antiretroviral therapy (ART) in people living with HIV / AIDS are removed.

“For strong implementation, testing and treatment for HIV infection is readily available and people on treatment are encouraged to adhere to recommended treatment regimens and are maintained in care,” according to a statement from the Ministry of Health. Health.

The health ministry statement added that “with these new guidelines, we will gradually recruit new clients on ART from the current 61% coverage to reach 80% by 2020. The ministry will aggressively monitor the achievement of these goals in all population groups in the country to ensure that no one is left behind.

The ministry is issuing a circular to all health facilities and has also developed a comprehensive deployment plan, which will ensure that all facility staff across the country are trained on the new guidelines and that facilities are supported to requisition sufficient stock. antiretrovirals. drugs to meet the slightly increased demand for ARVs.

Minister Opendi greeted the partners, the United States Embassy in Kampala World Health Organization, Uganda UNICEF Uganda UNAIDS The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Clinton Health Access Initiative DFID – UK Department for international development DANIDA unfpa – Uganda and other international and national NGOs, academic institutions and health workers.

Uganda has made notable progress in the fight against HIV / AIDS.

There is high coverage of people living with HIV in the ART program, dropping from around 329,000 in 2011 to around 834,931 in 2015 and the reduction in AIDS-related deaths from 63,000 in 2013 to 28,000 in 2015 .

Uganda is implementing a strong response to HIV and AIDS using a combined HIV prevention approach. The objective of this approach has been the implementation of high impact structural, behavioral and biomedical methods ininterventions.

Interventions undertaken by the ministry include: HIV counseling and testing, family planning, distribution of condoms to target audiences, provision of ART to all people living with HIV, among others

Through this approach, the country has observed significant achievements such as decreases in new HIV infections, a decrease in AIDS-related deaths as well as a significant increase in the number of people living with HIV / AIDS who receive care and support. a treatment.

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