Saturday, 18 October 2014

HIV rates among truck drivers high.Drive Hot News

KAMPALA
HIV prevalence among long-distance truck drivers continues to be high standing between 25 per cent and 32 per cent, a new study has revealed.
The study conducted by Knowledge Management and Communications Centre (KMCC) indicates 70 per cent of the drivers are married but 30 per cent of these form the clientele of sex workers.
“Because of the nature of their work, long distance truck drivers engage in sex with multiple partners and use condoms less consistently which contributes to the high prevalence rate,” Ms Maria Kwesiga, research consultant with KMCC, said.
As a result, therefore, Ms Kwesiga said truck drivers are prone to moving from areas with low to high HIV prevalence areas which might increase chances of spreading the disease from one area to another.
National rates 
The national HIV prevalence rate is at between 6.5 and 7 per cent.
Dr Vinand Nantulya, the chairman Uganda Aids Commission, acknowledged the vulnerability of long-distance truck drivers, saying it is usually fuelled by their long stay away from home.
“Their [truck drivers] high prevalence is partly fuelled by their interaction with sex workers when they stop at certain points. They have sex which in most cases is unprotected. Worse still, some of them are married so they take the disease with them back home,” Dr Nantulya said.
The study which was carried out on truck drivers on the Mombasa, Kampala route looked at HIV prevalence, knowledge and vulnerability of truck drivers and sex workers.
The study put the prevalence rate among sex workers at 37 per cent.
Mr Job Etim, the programmes support officer of Uganda Long Distance Truck Drivers Association said providing services such as testing and condoms are hard since they are always on the move.