Behaviour and communication change in reducing HIV: is Uganda unique?

Behaviour and communication change in reducing HIV: is Uganda unique?

Lessons other countries in the region can learn from the successes of Ugandan HIV/AIDS policies

In this paper from Centre for AIDS Development, Research and Evaluation (CADRE), epidemiological and behavioural data from Uganda is assessed in comparison with other populations where HIV has declined. HIV prevalence declined from 21 percent to 9.8 percent in Uganda from 1991-98. There is evidence that this is due to a basic population-level response initiated at community level to avoid risk, reduce risk behaviours, and care for people with AIDS. The basic elements, a continuum of communication, behaviour change and care, were integrated at community level. They were also strongly supported by distinctive Ugandan policies from the 1980s.

The researchers identified similar, early behaviour and communication responses in other situations where HIV has declined: Thailand, Zambia, and the US gay community. However, they acknowledge it is not easy to transfer the lessons of these successes to other developing countries. The policies require real social and political, in addition to financial, capital. Nevertheless, in a few situations, this behaviour and communication process been recognised at community level, and mobilised and built on by HIV prevention policy. Where this has occurred, HIV prevention success has been greater than biomedical approaches or methods introduced from outside. [adapted from author]

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