The objective of this study was to examine the epidemic trends of HIV-1 infection in a rural population cohort in Uganda followed for 10 years. The methods used were to assess incidence and prevalence trends in adults in this longitudinal cohort study. The results showed that incidence of infection has fallen significantly in all adults, and separately in males, females, young adults and older adults over the course of the study period. There was also a reduction in prevalence, especially in young men and women. There was some evidence of a cohort effect in women. The conclusions are that this study provides the first evidence of a falling incidence in a rural general population in Africa. This was an observational cohort exposed to national health education messages, giving hope that similar campaigns elsewhere in Africa could be used effectively in efforts to control the HIV epidemic.