News / Africa

Uganda’s Fishing Communities Encounter Higher HIV/AIDS Risks

A newly-diagnosed HIV positive woman in the treatment ward of the Mildmay, Uganda clinic, Feb. 27, 2014.A newly-diagnosed HIV positive woman in the treatment ward of the Mildmay, Uganda clinic, Feb. 27, 2014.
x
A newly-diagnosed HIV positive woman in the treatment ward of the Mildmay, Uganda clinic, Feb. 27, 2014.
A newly-diagnosed HIV positive woman in the treatment ward of the Mildmay, Uganda clinic, Feb. 27, 2014.

Multimedia

Audio
Kim Lewis

 More than 130,000 people who live in 42 fishing villages along Uganda’s shores of Lake Victoria have an HIV-infection rate that is three to four times higher than the national average in this country of 36 million people.

Uganda has been aggressive in combating the HIV virus for more than 30 years.

The IOM studied the fishing communities in six Uganda districts. When they examined the level of knowledge of HIV and the attitudes and practices of people in the communities, they found the high HIV prevalence was caused by many inter-related factors, said Dr. Natalia Gitu, IOM’s chief medical officer in Kampala.

Gitu said the IOM study and several previous reports describes the mobility and lifestyle of the fishermen - “The fact that they have every day, new cash, that flows in their business, and it’s associated with drinking alcohol, and engaging themselves in unprotected sex.”

“These are the factors that our studies confirm that lead to increased prevalence of HIV among fishermen,” she said of a community in which condom use if low.

Cultural attitudes lead to unprotected sex

The doctor said that while a large majority of men and women in the fishing communities are aware of the risks of contracting HIV, they most likely do not use protection due to cultural attitudes: They live and work in the face of high risk.

“The profession of fishermen is considered to be very risky,” said Gitu.

“They can lose their lives while they are fishing, and they don’t value their life.” So, the challenge is to work with existing attitudes.

“The intervention should be appropriate to the local culture.  And we believe that any intervention should be tailored specifically to the fishing community based on their culture, on their attitudes, on their beliefs,” she said.

For example, the IOM medical chief explained that the women of these fishing communities depend very heavily on the fishermen who provide them with jobs.  As a result the women feel they have no choice but to do what the men want them to do.

“In the fishing community, traditionally they believe that women can be shared by the men - women belong to the community,” she said.

“For example, when people engage themselves in unsafe sex, only 37 percent of men report that they use a condom and only 13 percent of women.  So the use of condoms in fishing communities is very low and that is also a big contribution to the spread of HIV,” noted Gitu.

Having access to treatment was another big factor in the spreading of the disease.

Most of the fishing communities are located in remote parts of the country, and traveling to obtain healthcare is a real challenge. More than 80 percent reported seeking treatment when they felt the symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases, but health facilities are far away from these villages.

“Sometimes they have to travel two hours to go to the health facility,” she said. “Therefore, bringing health services closer to fishing communities will definitely benefit men and women,” Gitu said.

 

You May Like

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs