Reaching Key and Priority Populations in Uganda with HIV Prevention and Treatment Services


Key populations, including sex workers, prisoners, and men who have sex with men (MSM), are disproportionately infected with and affected by HIV and AIDS. In 2014, HIV prevalence among sex workers globally was 12 times the prevalence of the mainstream population. Sex workers and other key and priority populations contribute substantially to new HIV infections in Uganda. Modeling by the Uganda AIDS Commission estimated that sex workers, their clients, and partners of clients contributed 10% of new infections by 2008, while another study in Kampala found that HIV prevalence among sex workers was as high as 37%. Prevalence in other key and priority populations has also been found to be higher than the national average: a 2012 study in Kampala estimated HIV prevalence at 9.3% among  sher folk, 9.1% among MSM, 6.6% among truckers, and 1.9% among security forces. National prevalence was 7.3% during the same period.

STAR-E and its partners have reached around 120,000 people among key and priority populations with standardized prevention messages through the project’s outreach activities. Many more have been served at health facilities supported by the project. 

A large increase in 2012 resulted from a USAID required shift in the project’s approach from focusing on people living with HIV to key and priority populations. In scal year 2016 alone, the project reached 13,440 key and priority population members. Out-of-school youth, sex workers, and truckers comprised a majority of those who were reached.