In the early 1990s, Uganda had the highest prevalence of HIV in the world. In response, the Government implemented strong preventive measures through a policy of openness, public information, communication and education, and national and international collaboration through a partnership involving the private and public sectors (Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC), 2001). This approach succeeded in reducing HIV prevalence from over 30% in some sentinel1 sites to the current level of 7% (MoH, 2005). Although HIV prevalence remains unacceptably high, Uganda offers one of the most hopeful scenarios in Africa and is seen as a model to emulate (Green, 2003).
1 HIV sentinel sites are those where blood samples from clients of antenatal and sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinics are collected, using unlinked anonymous methods. The blood samples are collected on a quarterly basis for testing at the Uganda Virus Institute. Results from these sites are generalized to establish HIV prevalence in Uganda.
In 1986, Uganda established the AIDS Control Programme (ACP) in the MoH. The UAC was established in 1992 to coordinate multisectoral approaches to HIV, of which one of the major initiatives was the introduction of interventions for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (pMTCT) of HIV through the UNAIDS-brokered Accelerating Access Initiative. This initiative is a partnership involving UN agencies and a number of pharmaceutical manufacturers who have offered to supply products at reduced prices in resource-poor countries. Other Government strategies for prevention include an emphasis on the "ABC" strategy (Abstinence, Be faithful, Condom use) (UAC, 2001).