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Plan project reduces HIV transmission in Uganda

Man with HIV displays his artwork as part of Plan's HIV and AIDS art therapy program in Uganda.
Man with HIV displays his artwork as part of Plan's HIV and AIDS art therapy program in Uganda.

A Plan project in Uganda has reduced the level of HIV transmission between mother and child by 60%. This success comes as experts from the World Health Organization report that 200,000 new infections have been prevented globally by HIV treatment programs, since 2001.

On World Aids Day, one third of children living with HIV still die before their first birthday and half before their second, so preventing the transmission from mother to child is vital.

Since Plan’s project began in Tororo district, Uganda, only 1 in 14 children have become infected from their mothers, compared to 1 in 3 previously.

Reducing stigma

This vast improvement has been due to a number of integrated approaches including: encouraging HIV testing, the use of Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) during pregnancy, and increased post-natal care and safe feeding practices.

Plan also established post-test clubs to offer a supportive environment, which as well as the physical improvement, has led to 85% of people reporting a reduction in HIV and AIDS-related stigma in the community.

“You can see and feel that people are more open and comfortable with addressing HIV and AIDS. This is key to raising awareness and encouraging people to get tested and start treatment,” said James Gibson, Program Support Manager in the country.

Hope in life

For Agnes (age 28), Plan’s project has been vital to the health of her and her four children. When she found out that her husband was HIV-positive she decided to go to the health center to be tested and found that she too was infected.

“By then I was two months pregnant and I was very afraid," she said. “But the counselors at the center assured me there was hope in life despite my status; that with medicine, I could produce a healthy baby.”

Through a course of Antiretroviral drugs for herself and her newborn baby, Agnes now has a happy, healthy, HIV-negative daughter.

Maternal health and HIV and AIDS continue to be key areas of Plan’s work.