National Geographic : 1988 Apr
The underlying numbers are staggering: About half of the adult medical patients exam- ined at a Masaka hospital tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS, as did 40 percent in Kampala's Mulago Hospital, which admits five new AIDS patients a day. A survey of truck stops showed about 70 percent of the prostitutes and 33 per- cent of the truck drivers to be infected. In a 1986 survey at another Kampala hospital, sev- en out of every 50 pregnant women tested posi- tive for HIV antibodies, and the same was true for adult male blood donors. A more complete picture of the extent of the disease awaits re- sults of a national blood survey just begun. Photojournalist ROBERT CAPUTO has produced many articles on Africa for the NATIONAL GEO- GRAPHIC, his most recent being "Journey Up the Nile," May 1985 . He lives in Washington, D . C. "It is already a disaster, " one foreign doctor working in Uganda told me, "and it's going to get worse. We don't know enough about the disease to make firm predictions - there are many possible scenarios. It could be that hun- dreds of thousands of people are going to die . They may already be infected." "I don't know what to do," said Jane Na- mirimu softly while I sat with her. "I want to have a family, and a farm, and a home like this one. But! feel I am haunted by ghosts that will not leave me. I can just pray that things will be the way they should be ." NOTHING is the way it should be in Ugan- da. As independence from Britain approached in 1962, it seemed that Uganda, "the pearl of Africa," was well on its way to a long and happy life as a modern state.