Mail & Guardian

Uganda to start door-to-door HIV testing

16 Apr 1999 00:00 | Staff Reporter

David Gough in Kampala

The Ugandan Ministry of Health is initiating a voluntary door-to-door HIV screening programme in an effort to check the Aids epidemic that has claimed the lives of 700 000 people in the country.

After a successful pilot scheme, the Ugandan Aids Commission plans to take the testing nationwide by the end of the year. The programme uses mobile screening centres and a faster HIV test, so that up to 100 people can be seen in a day.

"We want to be able to test as many people as possible because we believe that it is only once people know their HIV status that they effect behavioural change," said the director general of the Aids commission, John Rwomushana.

The United Nations Agency for Aids (UNAids) estimates that 10 % of Uganda's 20-million population is HIV positive.

Since Yoweri Museveni became president in 1986, the government has been open in its determination to tackle Aids, and its initiatives have worked. In 1992, 30% of people in Kampala were HIV positive. Now it is just 12%.

"This is a dramatic reduction unmatched anywhere else in Africa," said Dr Dorothy Odongo of UNAids.

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