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Ministry of health makes more strides to improve HIV laboratory services  

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By Agnes Kiconco

KIU, Main Campus - Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary, Dr. Diana Atwine on Monday, February 14 said she is glad to see the ministry make more strides in improving HIV laboratory services.

Dr. Atwine said they built the capacity to handle over 5000 VL tests in 24 hours. A Viral load (VL) test is done to determine the number of HIV RNA copies per milliliter of blood. The more HIV-1 viral particles in the blood, the faster the patient's CD4+ T-cells are destroyed and the faster the progress toward AIDS.

"I am glad to see us make more strides in improving laboratory services. We have built capacity to handle over 5000 VL tests in 24 hrs. We acquired state of the art lab equipment that is changing landscape of turn around time of results. Bravo UNHLS," tweeted Dr. Atwine.

With the improvement in HIV laboratory services, Uganda is expected to attain great achievement in the fight against HIV/AIDS, by speeding up the testing process so as to give clients a quick measure of understanding, control, and motivation to adhere to treatment and understand their HIV infection beyond what CD4 or their clinical status is able to provide.

This will in the long run enable efficient monitoring of patient response to antiretroviral therapy (ART) and diagnosing acute HIV infection, so as to give health care providers treatment guidance.

On February 10, 2022, the Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng announced that Uganda registered a decline in HIV prevalence.

"The prevalence of HIV among adults of reproductive age 15 to 49 years was 5.5% - reflecting a slight decrease from 6.0 percent in UPHIA 2016-17," she revealed.