The HIV prevalence among adults aged 15 to 64 in East Central Uganda which comprises 10 districts including Luuka is 4.7% compared to the national average of 6.2%. Among young people aged 10-24, the HIV prevalence is 4% with the prevalence almost four times higher among females than males aged 15 to 24. Viral load suppression (VLS) among HIV-positive persons is lowest in East Central Uganda at 48.8% compared to the national average of 59.6%.
Among adults aged 15 to 64, 6.1% females and 5.8% males have ever been infected with Syphilis, a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and a key risk factor to HIV transmission. The prevalence of active Syphilis is higher among rural residents (such as Luuka) at 2.3% compared to 1.6% in urban settings.
The three (3) bordering districts to Luuka including Jinja & Mayuge and Kaliro are partly covered by Lakes; Victoria and Kyoga respectively. These neighborhood districts are home to fishing communities categorized as key populations with higher HIV prevalence, predisposing Luuka communities to HIV infection due to migration and population movements. Additionally, part of Luuka district is situated along the northern transport corridor that stretches from Kenya to Uganda with an active commercial centre located at Bulanga town where long-distance truck drivers lodge and engage in transactional sexual activity.
Knowledge gap on HIV&AIDS in Luuka is evident as only 76.6% of adults can reject the major HIV misconceptions (transmitted by mosquito bites, witchcrafts, or sharing food). Within the last one year, only 69.9% of Luuka residents received HIV counseling and testing (HCT) services, thus affecting achievement of the global 90-90-90 targets (access to HCT, viral suppression and treatment).
Factors driving the HIV&AIDS epidemic are: multiple concurrent sexual partnerships, inconsistent or incorrect condom use, nondisclosure, STIs and discordance. Early age initiation of sex, low uptake of HCT and low perceived risk to HIV infection among young people in part accounts for the 570 new HIV infections every week nationally among girls aged 15-24. In addition, stock outs for HIV&AIDS medicines and supplies and limited provision of adolescent health services account for the low HIV&AIDS performance indicators.
Tuberculosis (TB) also a major cause of morbidity with HIV&AIDS co infection and emergence of multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB). In East Central region, the disease case notification rate (CNR) is 89 per 100,000 against the expected 136 per 100,000, with TB/HIV co-infection reported at 36% compared to the national average of 42%. Intensified TB screening and appropriate referrals for in hard to reach and underserved Luuka communities will be prioritized to expand coverage and accessibility of TB services.