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Despite important improvements in care and support for persons living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), HIV/AIDS continues to take a toll on many African countries, particularly Uganda, where prevalence nearly reached 20% in the mid-1990s. While overall prevalence in Uganda has declined since then to about 6%, that decline has been stagnating in recent years, and the toll that the disease exacted on communities from recent decades has been difficult to undo. In the Central Region of Uganda, for example, HIV has prevalence of 9%, the highest in the country. The disease has left many community members without a primary source of income—and without parents.
But there is good news to be had as well, by way of the increased knowledge that these community members are gaining. In Uganda, more than 99% of Ugandan men and women have heard of AIDS; 90% know having a faithful, uninfected partner can reduce the risk of getting AIDS; and 85% know drugs are available to help HIV-positive people live longer. Each day, more community members are becoming aware that resolving the challenges associated with HIV/AIDS begins with them.
Although the numbers of people infected with HIV/AIDS in the United States is considerably lower than in Sub Saharan Africa, African immigrants in Minnesota have the highest rate of infection compared to other ethnic groups (74 – 105/ 100,000 persons) in the state. Lack of access to quality health care coupled with a fear to seek out services due to stigmatization of the disease in these close-knit communities creates the need for more culturally-appropriate education.
Having worked in HIV/AIDS-affected communities for decades, WellShare is uniquely qualified to create sustainable HIV/AIDS management and prevention programs in Ugandan and other African communities. We enlist the community’s help to provide comprehensive, community-based approaches to the care of persons living with HIV/AIDS and to children who have been orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS. Our HIV prevention programs span all societal groups, including youth, where at-risk behaviors can play a role in the disease’s spread.
The Somali Child Spacing Program is currently working to expand the number of sexual heath resources for Somali communities. Read more.
In Uganda, 2.3 million children younger than 18 years old—14 percent of children in the country—are orphans. Most of these orphans have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS.
Dalmar and Ebla, Karma and Love provides a culturally sensitive introduction to HIV/AIDS and examines the stigma on a Somali Community. To order your copy, click here. Order your copy.