18 July 2012

Uganda: 90 Percent Hoima Women Have Multiple Partners

About 90% of women in Hoima district have multiple sex partners, and half of them do not use condoms during sexual engagements, a survey on HIV/Aids, reproductive health and sanitation has revealed.

The District Population Officer, Lydia Asiimwe said that revelations of the survey carried out in February this year were so scary to the entire leadership. "There are even more shocking results," Asiimwe said when called for a clarification.

Last week, she attributed the increasing HIV prevalence in the area to what the survey revealed, which she said stood at 6.4%.

"As leaders, there is cause for alarm given the fact that 50% of these women do not use condoms," she told district leaders and officials from various organizations at a pre-World population day workshop at Hoima Resort Hotel.

The district population is projected at 549,000, a growth rate of 4.7 with a fertility rate of 6.9%. On the other hand, infant mortality rate in Hoima stands at 88 out of 1,000 live births and 437 women die during birth (maternal mortality rate).

Asiimwe said the district were organizing massive sensitization campaigns to educate women in rural areas, saying many did not know the risks involved in having more than one sex partner, more so when not protected.

"If our mothers can live life so carelessly like that, what do you expect the situation to be in the near future," she told the workshop. She attributed this to ignorance, stressing that majority of women were not aware they had a right to protective sex.

The survey also revealed that most women in rural Hoima were illiterate and poor, therefore vulnerable to exploitation.

"Most of these women are the breadwinners in their homes yet their income levels are so low, they can therefore be easily compromised when confronted for money for sex," she explained. Early marriages and pregnancies among the youth were also found to be on the rise, which had increased risks in the reproductive health status. At least 66% of women faced problems during or after birth.

Most health centers were found to be without qualified medical doctors, with a ratio of 1 to 49,920 patients and 33,280 for nurses. District leaders however noted that with the increasing influx of people in the district due to the discovery of oil had come along with challenges including sex workers.

They said many prostitutes had started making quick cash from businessmen and new immigrants and would accelerate the spread of HIV/Aids if the sensitization of communities was not intensified.

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