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Ugandan Fishing Communities at High Risk of HIV / AIDS: IOM

Pat Robert  Larubi - 18/07/2014 05:27 CDT

Kampala, Kampala, Uganda

In Uganda, some 130,000 people live in fishing communities and estimates suggest that HIV infection rates in these communities are almost 3-4 times higher than the national average for adults.

“Most of the fishermen are not aware of the risks of HIV. It is a dangerous disease and we have lost many people here,” explained Joshua Nununule, a fisherman from Kasensero fish landing site.

Covering 42 fishing communities from six Ugandan districts, the study looks at the level of knowledge and its relationship with the attitudes and practices of people in the fishing communities.

“High HIV prevalence rates in these communities are the result of a complex interplay of factors including vulnerabilities caused by the high degree of mobility, as well as a failure to address the knowledge, attitudes and practices of these communities through HIV prevention programmes,” says IOM Uganda Chief of Mission Gerard Waite.

The study also points to the pressing need of HIV/AIDS services in fishing communities. Most of these communities are located in remote parts of the country and have gaps in HIV service provision. In most of the villages HIV counselling and testing are not available. When people get infected with HIV, they have to travel long distances from their village to a hospital.

“There is a still a need to do more HIV counseling and testing in these communities. We also need to make it easier for those who are HIV positive to get care and treatment,” says David Mudooba, IOM’s HIV focal point in Rakai district in south western Uganda.

The report was compiled with the support of the Joint UN Support Programme for AIDS (JUPSA).

For a copy of the report please go to http://uganda.iom.int/publication/hiv-knowledge-attitudes-practices-and-population-size-estimates-of-fisherfolk-in-six-districts-in-uganda/.