Monday 10 November 2014

World AIDS Day 2014-Concept note

Theme: “Getting to Zero, My Responsibility”

Background Paper

1.0         Introduction and Background

While Uganda has made remarkable progress in addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic, a recent AIDS indicator survey (2011) showed an HIV prevalence of 7.3% among people aged 15-49 years. This apparent increase in prevalence was partly attributed to the rising number of Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV) who are able to live longer as a result of improved access to treatment as well as a rising number of new infections. Although Uganda estimates by UNAIDS showed a decrease  of new infections from about 162,000 in 2011 to 137,000 in 2013  this figure is still too high and is the highest in the East African region.  

The high number of new infections in the country is compounded by challenges of social, behaviour, structural, economic, political and legal barriers to effective demand and uptake of preventive HIV/AIDS services.

 In order to address existing challenges and reverse the HIV epidemic, the country has finalized the development of the National HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan 2015/16 – 2019/20 which has a thrust towards individual and collective responsibility in the fight against the epidemic.
The cornerstone of our prevention efforts must be anchored on the behavior of our people, both young and old. Studies show that the main sources of new infections are multiple sexual partnerships including amongst those who are married.

Change to the right behavior must be supported with proven bio-medical interventions such as Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission, correct and consistent condom use in risky sexual encounters  or amongst couples who are discordant and safe male circumcision which reduces the risk of acquisition amongst men.

 2.0.      World AIDS Campaign

World AIDS Campaign 2011 – 2015 has continued to focus on the Theme of “Getting to Zero” Zero New Infections, Zero discrimination, Zero deaths. This theme, aims at advancing global progress in achieving country set targets for universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support; and to halt and reverse the spread of HIV and contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

3.0 World AIDS Day 2014

National Theme: “Getting to Zero, My Responsibility”

What the theme aims to achieve
1.         Getting To Zero HIV new infections

·           New sexual transmissions of HIV are prevented

·          Parent to child transmission of HIV is eliminated

2.         Getting to Zero AIDS related deaths
  • Universal access to antiretroviral therapy for HIV infected people who are in need of it.
  • Tuberculosis deaths among people living with HIV are prevented
  • People infected and affected with HIV have access to care and support and are covered in all national social protection strategies.

3.         Getting To Zero Discrimination
  •       People infected and affected with HIV are treated with respect and dignity.

 Objectives of the World AIDS Day

·     To serve  as a platform to create awareness and advocacy, community mobilization and re-energizing the role of leaders at household, community and national levels towards HIV Prevention  and control;

·     To enable the country to take stock of achievements as well as innovations and scientific break-throughs.  
  • To call for action and commitment by government and other partners to fund the HIV and AIDS national response in order to achieve universal access targets.

4.0       WAD 2014 message

The campaign message this year is focusing on individuals to take full responsibility of their health and sexual behavior as far as HIV and AIDS is concerned.

 My Responsibility

“The Response Starts with ME” It is an individual responsibility to:

(a) Adopt safer sexual behaviour and reduction in risky behaviour through:

  • Practicing abstinence
  • Being faithful to one’s sexual partner
  • Consistent and correct use of condoms

(b)  Utilize available HIV / AIDS services

·            Getting tested and knowing one’s HIV status

·          Accessing Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) services

·          Accessing Elimination of Mother To Child Transmission (EMTCT) services

·          Accessing Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)

(c)    Live Positively

  •  Adhering to ART
  • Eating a balanced diet.
  • Avoid alcohol and other substances that endanger one’s health.
  • Do not transmit HIV to others

6.0       Venue for the World AIDS Day.

The national event will be held in Fort Portal, Kabarole District on 1st December 2014 . The rationale for selection of Kabarole district is that, it is characterised by high HIV prevalence rates and it is a growing and tourist destination in the mid - Western region.  In addition, the district is centrally located in that region for participation of other districts at the National event.

 Uganda AIDS commission has been rotating venues of the 3 main advocacy events (World AIDS Day, Philly Lutaaya Day and Candlelight memorial) to ensure national coverage.

Every district is charged with the responsibility to ensure district based commemorations in partnership with district based actors, at a venue of their choice and performing activities of their choice based on existing capacities and HIV situations.
7.0       Organisation of World AIDS Day 2014

National Organising Committee (NOC) and District Organising Committees (DOC)

UAC’s main role is to coordinate and give guidance to the whole country through a National Organising Committee (NOC).  UAC has identified strategic agencies/partners to constitute a NOC to support Kabarole district to organise the event. Members of the NOC are from Government, civil society including International NGOs, Local NGOs and CBOs, Faith Based Organisations (FBOs), Private sector, Culture, media and Arts, Youth, Decentralised Response, Parliament, PLHIV, Research and Academia and People with Disabilities (PWDs) as well as Aids Development Partners (ADPs).  The NOC will constitute sub-committees to execute specific tasks as will be determined based on members’ consensus.

The composition and roles of the District Organising Committees (DOCs) will be a replica of the NOC as stipulated above but districts are at liberty to add to the list according to the prevailing circumstances.

Terms of Reference for NOC and DOC:

Goal: Working with UAC/District AIDS Committees, the committees will give guidance to the entire country as well as districts on implementation of successful WAD 2014 events at the centre and in the different Local Governments.

Terms of Reference for NOC/DOC:

The NOC and DOCs will perform their duties with intentions to achieve agreed upon objectives.  The NOC and DOCs will through regular meetings of members and subcommittees have the following roles:

·         Review and refine proposed strategy for WAD 2014

·         Identify and agree on suitable activities to share with partners

·         Ensure effective national and decentralised level publicity of the event

·         Review and have consensus over the proposed national and district activities.

·         Mobilise different constituencies to participate in the day’s events

·         Mobilise resources to support implementation of agreed upon activities

Any other roles and responsibilities of the NOC and DOCs shall be determined by Uganda AIDS Commission and the District AIDS Committees as and when need arises

NB: NOC/DOC will work on voluntary basis, but are expected to demonstrate commitment to the cause.
8.0       Proposed activities for World AIDS Day.:

A number of broad activities will be considered for implementation in the month preceding WAD and in the immediate period after the event.

1.           ‘Special Prayers’ by the Moslems community, Catholic community, Anglican community, Adventist Community, Pentecostals, among other Christian sects. This is coordinated by the Interreligious Council of Uganda.

2.          ‘Special Forum’ by Urban Leaders . AMICAALL is working hand in hand with UAC on the Universal Access Campaign led by Mayors and other urban local government leaders covering the whole country.

3.          The eMTCT campaign launch for Busoga region is expected to take place in December 2014.

4.          The “Protect the Goal” campaign led by the MoH will be launched by H.E. The President of Uganda on 9th November 2014. The campaign mainly targets the youth and other sports lovers and aims at using sports as a forum to mobilise the community take action aimed at reducing HIV acquisition and transmission.

5.          Mass media campaigns through radios, TV debate, press conferences, news paper supplements among others. Local governments are  encouraged to mobilise local media stations to donate airtime for HIV/AIDS message dissemination as part of corporate social responsibility

6.          Intensifying service delivery  activities like HCT, SMC etc.

7.          Processions through roads/streets in identified areas/communities

8.          Sports such as bicycle/motorcycle/motor rallies and marathon races

9.          Film shows, Debates, Quizzes, , Community Dialogues and Statements;

10.       District Council Debates and community dialogues

11.       Social Support to the needy in form of visiting infected and affected people in homes, prisons, etc.

12.       IEC Materials production, display and publications through ads, supplements, stickers, banners, posters, press releases, etc.

Space will be availed during the event for actors to show case  their services, products and research outcomes through exhibitions, service delivery and edutainment.

 9.0       Guest of Honour at the National event:

His Excellency the President of Uganda is expected to grace the WAD as the Chief Guest.

 10.0    Appeal

Uganda AIDS Commission as a lead coordinating agency will give guidance to all sectors, districts and NGOs including PLHIV.  The Commission therefore appeals to all leaders to cooperate and embrace the campaign and support the theme, “Getting to Zero; My Responsibility”.

The Commission further calls upon everyone to demonstrate effective individual as well as collective responsibility as we steer the country’s HIV response efforts towards attaining zero new infections, Zero discrimination and Zero AIDS related deaths as we count down to 2015 .

Together we share the Challenge.

HIV discovery offers new lead in finding cure

French scientists report finding a genetic mechanism by which they believe two men were spontaneously cured of HIV.   

Testing samples. Photo Courtesy of Reuters
French scientists have reported finding a genetic mechanism by which they believe two men were spontaneously cured of HIV, a breakthrough that could lead to a new approach in the fight against AIDS.

Scientists at Institute of Health and Medical Research in Paris tested 1,700 people diagnosed as HIV-positive, then focused their research on two men.

One was diagnosed HIV-positive in 1985, but never suffered any illness linked to the HIV infection, despite being continuously exposed to the virus through syringes he shared with his HIV-positive wife.

The other man was diagnose HIV-positive in 2011, but has never been ill and the virus cannot now be detected with routine blood tests.

"HIV from the two studied patients was inactivated by interruptions in their genes," said researcher Philippe Colson. "HIV is still present but is no more able to replicate."

The scientists believe the virus was deactivated by the combined effect of a common enzyme and a viral protein, resulting in spontaneous changes to the men's DNA.

Despite still being HIV-positive, the genetic changes gave the men protection from the virus.

The researchers said genetic changes of this nature are not unusual in both humans and other mammals, especially when provoked by a retrovirus like HIV.

"We believe that the persistence of HIV DNA can lead to cure, and protection from HIV," Colson and co-author Didier Raoult wrote in the journal Clinical Microbiology and Infection.
 Read more.....

Source: Al Jazeera          



Wednesday 5 November 2014

Uganda AIDS Accountability Scorecard Launched

The Uganda AIDS Accountability Scorecard, the first of its kind in the country was launched on Wednesday April 30th by the Uganda Network of AIDS Service Organisations (UNASO) at Hotel Africana, in Kampala.
An image of a copy of the Uganda AIDS Accountability Score Card.

The Uganda AIDS Accountability Score card which was produced by the Uganda Network of AIDS Services Organisations (UNASO) with support of United Nations Development Programme(UNDP) rates the degree to which the Government of Uganda is fulfilling its commitment to respond to the AIDS epidemic.
Presenting the findings of the Scorecard, the Executive Director of UNASO, Mr. Bharam Namanya, said that the study shows that anti-retroviral therapy (ART) for both adults and children was performing well as well as tuberculosis (TB) treatment.
He said that the number of Ugandans accessing Anti-Retroviral treatment increased from 329,060 (57 per) to 577,000 (76.5 per cent) between September 2011 and September 2013.
“Findings also reveal that the majority of respondents are happy with the performance of other interventions; Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT), HIV Counseling and Testing (HCT), and Safe Male Circumcision (SMC).”
Mr. Namanya noted that the findings indicate that most health facilities had infrastructure however, they had not had any renovation and required facelift for they were generally characterized by worn out paintings, dust stained louvers, dirt stained and damaged screening meshes, stained and damaged ceilings, damaged doors, cracked walls, non-functional water taps.
The study also highlighted that the general challenges for prevention indicated that stigma is still limiting identified HIV positive clients from accessing treatment and there is shortage of midwives in supported lower level facilities especially among health centres III.

 Mr. Namanya also added that the findings show that there is lack of comprehensive counseling skills at Antenatal Care, women fear to test for HIV and AIDS and there is scarcity of both female and male condoms; female condoms are not available and there is limited public education about them.

 “Inadequate public education about female condom, and where it is available, it carries confusing messages from multiple implementers,” he added.
Another challenge is the biting poverty in the community that has been a hindrance to honoring of referrals. Clients are willing to access service in health facilities but they claim not to have transport.

Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC) Board Chairperson, Professor Vinand Nantulya, described the scorecard as, “an opportunity to improve service delivery and offers a platform for communication between health service users and the service providers. It underscores immediate response and joint decision-making”.
Eight key elements required for an effective national response to AIDS were assessed, namely: Data Collection, Focus on Most-at-Risk Populations, Treatment, Prevention, Coordination, Civil Society, Financing and Human Rights Mainstreaming based on the performance indicators of Uganda’s National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan 2011/12-2014/15.

Also at the launch, UNASO flagged off a new Accountability Framework for AIDS Service Organisations in Uganda, a tool aimed at helping CSOs to enhance internal accountability, governance and transparency to build capacity to support the HIV and AIDS sector in Uganda.
 An estimated 1.3 million Ugandans aged 15 to 49 are currently living with HIV and prevalence has continued to rise from 6.4 per cent in 2004/2005 to 7.3 per cent in 2011.

UNASO, with a membership of over 2,000 CSOs, provides a platform for advocacy, coordination, networking, capacity building and information sharing among civil society AIDS service organizations (ASOs) to improve on the effectiveness, efficiency and quality of service delivery in Uganda.

Written by Esther Namirimu

Monday 3 November 2014



Hon. Sarah Opendi
Minister of State for Health – Primary Health Care
P. O.  BOX 7272,


In an effort to scale up services for HIV/AIDS, the Ministry of Health, Uganda AIDS Commission, the UN family (UNAIDS, UNFPA, WHO, UNICEF, WFP,) and Partners are launching a national campaign using football and other sports as a platform to raise awareness about HIV and mobilize young people to commit to HIV prevention and access services.

The campaign dubbed “Protect the Goal Campaign” was started by the UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibe, and was first launched at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and later on in Brazil in 2014. This global advocacy initiative harnesses the power of sports that attracts millions of people, to bring HIV into public domain.

Following the International launch, the Heads of African States including our President, H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, at the 23rd Ordinary Session of African Union meeting held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea from 23rd to 27th June 2014, then committed themselves to the Global "Protect the Goal" Campaign and signed on the symbol – the ball.

This commitment aligns itself well with the Ugandan 2013 recommitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS under the theme “Re-engaging Leadership for Effective HIV Prevention: Accelerating Action towards Zero New Infections.”

Aware of the rising prevalence of HIV in our Country, now at 7.3% and the more recent evidence which indicates that the annual number of new HIV infections is substantially high among the young people, it is pertinent that Uganda launches and rolls out this Global HIV campaign to the entire country to increase awareness, emphasize prevention and scale up treatment.

The campaign will use the popularity and convening power of sports to unite Ugandans towards the goal of an AIDS-free generation. It will also raise awareness around HIV prevention and encourage young people and all Ugandans to get actively involved in both the national and global response to HIV and support the UNAIDS’ ambitious target of 90-90-90 by 2020. This target aims at ensuring that by 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy, and 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

The Slogan for the campaign is; “This is your game, Do not let AIDS score”. It makes an analogy between goalkeepers protecting their goal and people protecting themselves against HIV.
The National Launch of the Campaign will take place at the Nelson Mandela National Stadium, Namboole, on the 9th of November 2014, beginning at 10.00am. His Excellency the President of Uganda- Yoweri Kaguta Museveni will preside over the Launch and also participate in a curtain raiser Football match between Cabinet and Members of Parliament/Partners. This event will also feature Micheal Sidibe, the UNAIDS Executive Director.

Ministry of Health and Partners in collaboration with Federation of Uganda Football Association have invited the Ethiopian National Team to play a friendly match with the Ugandan Cranes as a climax of the activities of that day.

As part of the mobilization for this big event, a number of renowned Ugandan Artists will be performing as part of their social responsibility to mobilize youth for HIV services and be part of the Global action against HIV/AIDS.

The Key Messages for the campaign are three;
1.    Take precaution to remain HIV free by focusing and practicing the prevention messages of ABC: Abstain, Be Faithful and use condoms for those of age. Remember prevention is key!
2.    Know your status - Take an HIV test. Today, few Ugandans know their HIV status (44%for men and 66% for women).
3.    If you are infected ensure that you protect yourself from re-infection, protect others by not passing on the infection, seek treatment from recognised health workers and take your ARVs as prescribed by the health worker
Roll - out of the Campaign
The roll out of the campaign will follow a two-pronged approach: the National Launch and the Implementation phase.  Each phase has been designed to progressively raise the visibility and momentum of the campaign as Uganda scales up its efforts towards the fight against HIV
Implementation Phase
1.    Following the National Launch, the Ministry of Health will work with partners and Local Governments to cascade the campaign to regions and districts. A number of activities are being developed to support the regional and district launches including behaviour change communication, condom distribution, voluntary testing, outreach and counselling
2.    The Ministry of Education and Spots is to incorporate the campaign in school tournaments. Schools will be required to advance HIV promotional activities during football matches and athletic competitions that are carried out during the school terms.
3.    Local government have been brought on board to advance the campaign by incorporating HIV services during all district football matches.

Expected Outcomes
Through the systematic implementation of the campaign, the Ministry of Health intends to achieve the following;
•    Greater sensitization of the general public about HIV prevention especially among young people
•    Expansion of access to HIV counselling , testing and linkage to care
•    Renewed commitment of partners to support advocacy  for HIV/AIDS prevention and control towards an AIDS-free generation
Public Appeal
Government calls on the general Public to embrace the campaign and turn up in large number at Mandela National Stadium on the 9th November 2014.
For God and my country

Hon. Sarah Achieng Opendi 
Minister of State - Primary Health Care
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