Monday, 11 January 2016

Policy Brief on Inclusion of HIV Messages for Older Persons in the National HIV Behavioural Change Communication Programmes-2015


Uganda was one of the countries that were affected with AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, but has successfully gained international reputation for combating HIV&AIDS. The prevalence of HIV in Uganda fell from 18% in the late 1980s to as low as 6.4% in 2005 (MOH, 2006). In 2011, the prevalence rose  to 7.3% (MOH, 2012) which meant that Uganda is one of the few countries in the World where the prevalence  is rising despite the various interventions being implemented. The UNAIDS put the number of new infections at 150,000 in 2011, up from 120,000 in 2004 (PEPFAR, 2014) and these excludes older persons. According to Uganda AIDS Commission, approximately 80% of HIV infections arise from heterosexual transmission, 20% from mother-to-child infection and less than 1% from blood-borne infection. Nationally, only 36% of women and 43% of men aged 15-49 have a comprehensive knowledge of HIV&AIDS(MOH, 2012).

 Key Concerns

HIV messaging among Older Persons: Older persons and the general population don’t have similar levels of knowledge about HIV&AIDS due to variations in messaging. It is clear that there is lack of HIV messages targeting older persons. This means that other factors are also likely to be responsible for the difference in knowledge and prevalence of HIV in the general population and that of older persons. Sexual behaviour, living conditions and the lifestyle of older people especially those who have money are some of the factors that make older people particularly vulnerable. While as, some older persons can read and write, many of them are very illiterate as they can neither read nor write. 

Posted by Esther Namirimu/Communication Officer of UNASO.