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US government renews commitment to fight HIV /Aids in Uganda

U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Deborah L. Birx (AGENCIES PHOTO)

As part of the ongoing efforts to improve the health of all Ugandans, the United States government has once again increased HIV prevention and treatment assistance to Uganda through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

On April 20 in Washington, D.C., U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Deborah L. Birx – accompanied by the PEPFAR Uganda team and other stakeholders– approved PEPFAR’s 2018 Country Operational Plan for Uganda. With a budget of $408 million in funding, this plan covers a range of HIV/AIDS-related programming for the period October 2018 to September 2019. An increase from last year’s $402 million PEPFAR budget for Uganda, this assistance will continue to focus on building the country’s capacity to achieve an AIDS-free generation.

PEPFAR funding is supporting Uganda’s efforts to end AIDS by 2030. The first step in this is achieving epidemic control via UNAID’s “90-90-90” goals, which state that by the year 2020, 90 percent of all people living with HIV will know their status, 90 percent of all people diagnosed with HIV will be on antiretroviral therapy, and 90 percent of people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression. In Uganda, PEPFAR’s overarching goal is to reach, test, and treat those living with HIV who remain undiagnosed, bringing Uganda to 95 percent coverage across the three areas.

To achieve this, PEPFAR’s 2018 Country Operational Plan will focus on identifying and treating HIV-positive men, supporting voluntary male medical circumcision to help prevent HIV transmission, intensifying efforts to keep adolescent girls and young women AIDS-free, and improving access to HIV prevention and treatment for key and priority populations, such as fisher folk, prisoners, and sex workers. In addition, PEPFAR-funded programs will increase support to public sector health facilities and commodity supplies, which are vital in providing testing and treatment services.

US Ambassador to Uganda Deborah Malac shares a light moment with community leaders (FILE PHOTO)

U.S. Ambassador to Uganda Deborah R. Malac noted the importance of these measures in achieving an AIDS-free generation in Uganda. “The U.S. government remains committed to reducing the threat of HIV/AIDS by preventing new infections and helping HIV-positive Ugandans access the life-saving treatment they need,” she said. “We look to the Government of Uganda to expand its domestic resources for HIV/AIDS programming so that together, we can build a healthy and prosperous future for all Ugandans.”

The United States is the world’s leading global health donor and largest provider of health assistance to Uganda, where an estimated 1.35 million people are living with HIV. Since 2004, PEPFAR has invested nearly $4.5 billion in building Uganda’s capacity to respond to HIV/AIDS and improving the overall health of Ugandans.

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