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800,000 Ugandans with HIV will have been tested with Viral load by December 2016 – Ministry


Viral Load Test

The Ministry of Health says by end of next year, it would have tested about 800,000 Ugandans with HIV using the new technology that tells the amount of the virus one has in their bodies. The new technology known as Viral load is different from the CD4 count tests that have usually been carried out which could only tell the weakness or strength of the person’s immune system.

According to Aids.gov “viral load” refers to the amount of HIV in a sample of your blood. When your viral load is high, you have more HIV in your body, and that means your immune system is not fighting HIV as well. A viral load test helps provide information on your health status and how well antiretroviral therapy (ART – treatment with HIV medicines) is controlling the virus.

 Dr. Kiyaga Charles, an officer at the Ministry responsible for monitoring the success of this new technology says there is hope that the virus can totally be fought out of the person’s body as they are monitored when they routinely take their ARVs. He says the Ministry has so far received 12m dollars from PEPFA for this project hence calling upon Ugandans living with HIV to embrace this new technology that is greatly used in monitoring the person’s response to ARVs treatment to ensure the virus is completely fought out of the people’s body.

Dr. Kiyaga says the system that was only started in August last year seems to be promising in people who are regularly taking their drugs.

The 2013 HIV AND AIDS Uganda Country Progress Report states that: Although Uganda continues to experience a high rate of new HIV infections; the trend over the last three years shows a decline, from an estimated 162,294 in 2011 and 154,589 in 2012, to 140,908 in 2013. However, HIV incidence increased in adults from 134,634 in 2011 to 139,178 in 2012, and only declined to 131,279 in 2013. Decline in incidence has been more pronounced among children; from 27,660 in 2011, to 15,411 in 2012; and further down to 9,629 in 2013.

Avert noted that 7.2 percent of Uganda’s population is living with HIV, amounting to an estimated 1.4 million people, which includes 190,000 children.


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