According to a recently-released National Aids Indicator Survey, Uganda's HIV/Aids prevalence rate has risen from 6.4 per cent to 6.7 per cent.
The population-based HIV serological survey showed that 6.7 per cent of adults aged between 15 and 49 were HIV-positive.
Further, Uganda Aids Commission (UAC) statistics reveal that some 62 per cent of people in need of HIV treatment were on anti-retroviral therapy in March 2012, up from 50 per cent in 2010. Uganda managed to enrol an estimated 65,493 new HIV cases on life-prolonging ARVs in 2012, bringing to 356,056 the number of those on anti-retroviral therapy.
Unfortunately, despite improvement in mortality rates of those taking ARVs; people living with HIV in Uganda are often scared of buying life insurance because of the fear of being denied coverage, or being given little cover at a high premium.
Section 36 (1), (2) and (3) of The HIV and Aids Prevention and Control Bill, 2009 clearly stipulates the different options someone living with Aids or HIV has when buying life insurance. Section 36 (4) then details the decisions that can be taken by the life insurance company.
This prevents surprises when buying life insurance thus protecting clients from any form of discrimination by insurance companies. Further, Section 36 (5) gives clients the option of appealing to the Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda (IRA) in case they are aggrieved by the decision taken by the life insurance company.
Sections 37 and 38, address possible discrimination in health institutions against people living with HIV, as well as their ability to access health care services. This should further cement people's confidence in both life and health insurance services.
The Aids pandemic has had a devastating effect on the country. However, the stigma associated with it should not prevent one from accessing and benefiting from insurance services.
While some sectors of society oppose the bill, it erodes the notion that people living with HIV cannot buy insurance, and gives you another reason to invest in this lucrative investment vehicle.
The author is a Chartered Insurer.