The Ministry of Health and USAID agencies have launched a national HIV risk perception campaign aimed at addressing priorities around the HIV cascade, treatment services, prevention, care and GBV prevention.
Dubbed as TIME UP HIV, the campaign will address risky behavior amongst target audiences, the general population’s involvement, and contribution towards combating HIV and the 2030 goals.
Addressing HIV stakeholders the minister of Health Jane Ruth Aceng re echoed the fact that, ‘The catch phrase Time up HIV introduces a sense of urgency while inspiring hope that ending AIDS is attainable through concerted efforts involving a multiplicity of players.’
“The campaign is a comprehensive 360 drive that will run for the next 6 – 12 months with ongoing adaptations based on lessons learned from implementation. The campaign will be rolled out on platforms countrywide that include interpersonal and community activities, mass media (print, TV & radio), and digital platforms,” she said.
TIME UP HIV is aligned to the UNAIDS goal of ending the epidemic by 2030 and achieving the 95-95- 95 HIV treatment target. The campaign actualizes the national policies and guidelines on HIV prevention, care and treatment informed by insights from collaborative research information with key stakeholders and target audiences.
Uganda has made significant progress in the HIV pandemic response! Amidst COVID-19 disruptions and by the end of 2020, 91% of adults living with HIV in Uganda knew their status, of which 95% were on treatment and 90% of those on treatment achieved viral suppression. The new HIV infections had declined by 61% from 94,00 in 2010 to 38,000 in 2020.
The AIDS related deaths had declined from 89,200 to 22,000 during the same period. However, Uganda is specifically concerned about the high burden of new infections in certain subpopulations which includes; Pregnant women, children and adolescent girls, men, and key populations.
As a result, over 1.4 million people are living with HIV of whom only about 1.32 million have been identified and enrolled onto antiretroviral therapy. To further consolidate and sustain these gains, Uganda revised and updated its health sector HIV strategic plan (HSHSP) 2018-23 to guide the public health response to the HIV pandemic.
Considering the contribution of Social Behavioral Change Communication (SBCC), in averting new infections, the Ugandan health ministry updated the communication strategy 2021-2026 to provide standard communication guidance on promotion, demand, generation and advocacy for the HIV interventions outlined in the HSHSP.
The strategy prescribes suitable communication approaches to promote demand and up take of biomedical interventions including HIV testing services, PMTCT, condom promotion and distribution, safe male circumcision, programming for adolescent girls and young women, programming for key and priority populations, ARVs for treatment and prevention including PEP and PREP among others.