by Alex Opio, Michael Muyonga & Noordin Mulumba July, 2011.
This study was done for the Lake Victoria Basin Commission and the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization. It counters some common misconceptions about the level of knowledge of HIV among fishing communities although it also reveals that more education and health services are needed to contain the spread of the disease.
Extracted from the Executive Summary (download the full document)
Also see related Post on HIV/AIDS in Uganda: https://genderaquafish.org/category/theme/hivaids/
The survey was conducted in forty six fishing communities of the Lake Victoria Basin of Uganda in August 2010 to establish HIV prevalence among fishing communities, the associated drivers of risk and vulnerability; and the effectiveness of HIV and AIDS response.
A total of 911 women and men aged 15-59 years were randomly selected and interviewed by four fieldwork teams. Of the 911 respondents, 559 (61 percent) are men and 352 (39 percent) are women. Twenty two percent of the surveyed fishing community members are infected with HIV; HIV prevalence among women is higher (25.1 percent) than among men (20.5 percent). HIV prevalence is highest among widows/widowers (40 percent) followed by that among divorced people (32 percent). Overall, HIV prevalence is higher among uncircumcised men and respondents with STI than in circumcised men and respondents without STI, respectively. HIV prevalence is 11 percent in circumcised men and 27 percent in uncircumcised men.
Radio is the commonest source of HIV/AIDS information and education. Of all information acquired on HIV prevention methods, limiting sex to one partner is perceived as the most important information acquired from the radios.
Overall levels of knowledge on single measures of prevention are high but the level of comprehensive knowledge is moderate; being 38 percent among women and 41 percent among men. The level of comprehensive knowledge is higher among those with secondary or higher level of education compared to those who stopped at primary level. Misconception about HIV/AIDS is low in the surveyed fishing communities. Multiple sexual partnerships are more common in men than in women. Those respondents whose origin is 100 kilometers or more from the current place of residence are more likely to report engagement in multiple sexual relationships than those born in the area of current residence. Safe sex [practices, number of partners.
Overall, 77 percent of women and 62 percent of men reported that they have ever had HIV tests. Therefore, women were more likely than men to have received HIV testing. About one third of respondents said that they got tested in the last 12 months and received their results.
Among the key recommendations are the following:
- Use the results of this survey to raise people’s awareness of the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on women and men in the fishing communities, and also to highlight the vulnerability of women in the fisheries sector.
- Develop and implement innovative service delivery initiatives which would include: Surgical camps for male circumcision, mobile service delivery teams/Outreaches condom vending machines, STI screening and treatment.
- Initiate tailored programmes using peer-education, life skills promotion, local radio programmes, mobile phones for message dissemination, and entertainment education approaches.
- Implement income generation initiatives targeting women. Consider establishing income saving approaches using mobile banking.
- Develop and implement a gender mainstreaming advocacy strategy targeting promotion of policies and laws that protect women against violence and exploitation.
- Innovative approaches should be sought to address the transport and communication barrier so as to increase access to health services to the hard-to-reach fishing communities. For instance, mobile phones could be used as an avenue to disseminate general health and HIV-related messages.
- A special comprehensive HIV prevention and care programme for fishing communities is needed to address the unique characteristics of these communities.
- A special funding for primary health care provision needs to be provided in the islands because primary health care services are grossly inadequate in the islands. Also, improve the health infrastructure and the provision of drugs and supplies to support service delivery.
- Establish a regional hub of good practices for interventions among fishing communities.
- Coordination of community response needs to be strengthened.