Elizabeth Margret Asiimwe

Elizabeth Margret Asiimwe

Makerere University School of Public Health, Uganda

Title: Uganda: which direction are we heading? The escalating prevalence of sexually transmitted infections


Elizabeth Margret Asiimwe is working as an asst. Prof at Makerere University School of Public Health, Uganda


Background: Whereas sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have been controlled in the developed world, in sub-Saharan Africa the burden continues to grow. STIs increase the likelihood of HIV infection and various complications. A study in Mwanza, Tanzania, demonstrated that STIs accounted for almost half of new HIV infections. High STIs prevalence may jeorpadise “getting to ZERO new HIV infections by 2015”.This paper presents STI prevalence in Uganda between 2001 and 2011. Methods: We reviewed Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (UDHS) reports o(2001, 2006 and 2011) for STI prevalence.The population surveyed per year was; 9208 (2001), 11,034 (2006) and 11,820 (2011). We extracted results on characteristics of the people who self reported suffering from STI or had STI symptoms (bad smell, abnormal genital discharg and genital sore or ulcer), treatment seeking practice. Results: STI prevalence rose from 16.6% in 2001 (n= 6,398) to 26.5% (n= 7,383) in 2011 among women and trippled among men (5.5% in 2001(n=1,643) to 14% (n=1777) in 2011). At regional level, Central-1 had the highest STI prevalence amongst women (37.4% (n=771) and Kalamoja the least (0.6% (n=247) in 2006. Amongst men, highest STI prevalence was in 2011 in East-Central at 28.0% (n=194), and lowest in West-Nile at 3% (n=107). Results showed that STI prevalence increased almost six-fold in Central-East from 5.3% (n=469) in 2000 to 28% (n=194) in 2011 in men. Higher STI prevalence was reported among the married, middle income earners, urban dwellers and those with higher education. A higher proportion of men sought treatment (70% (n=90) compared to women (61%, n=1,062) including traditional healer interventions (12% vs. 7%). Conclusion: The review reveals a marked increase in the prevalence of STI in the country and especially in the eastern region. The surging trend calls for an urgent need for the country to re-examine STI preventive programs.

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