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January 2004

The susceptibility and vulnerability of small-scale fishing communities to HIV/AIDS in Uganda

This sector project was funded by Policy Advice for Sustainable Fisheries, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH and undertaken by FAO HIV/AIDS Programme, Rome

Like all sectors of the Ugandan economy, the fisheries sector has not been spared the scourge of HIV/AIDS. Fisherfolk have been described as among the “most vulnerable to HIV infection” but exact prevalence data have not been produced. Hence, even in Uganda where so much has been done to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic, there are crucial gaps in the knowledge base regarding HIV/AIDS and small-scale fishing communities.

The purpose of this study is to go beyond perceptions of fisherfolk as high-HIV risk categories, and to understand the dynamics of inland small-scale fishing communities’ livelihoods and map their contexts of vulnerability, in order to design operational responses that effectively support these groups and, in doing so, influence relevant policy platforms. Fieldwork was conducted at four fish landing sites, two on Lake Victoria (Central and Eastern Regions) and two on Lake George (Western Region).

This paper draws together the main findings emerging from the study, identifying the drivers of susceptibility to HIV infection and sources of vulnerability to the impact of AIDS; discussing the challenges and opportunities for addressing HIV/AIDS in the context of small-scale fishing communities; and presenting four recommendation domains.

Click here to view the document.

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