Tuesday, May 7, 2024
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“Opinion leaders sabotaging efforts to combat new infections,” says AIDS commission

Prevalence is still high in uncircumcised men and it stands at 60% among the HIV infected people

As the country gears up for the commemoration of the International Candle Light Memorial Day on 17th May, 2024, stigma and discrimination of the people living with HIV and AIDS is still a major hindering factor to achieving the end of HIV infections by 2030.

Dr. Sarah Nakku the Country Community Mobilization and Networking Adviser at UNAIDS, while addressing reporters Uganda Media Centre in Kampala on 7th Tuesday, 2024, said that from the start of the epidemic there was 41 million people dying of HIV and Aids related diseases this has since reduced to 1.3 million people dying of AIDS related illnesses globally of which Uganda constitutes 17,000 of those deaths.

According to Dr.Nakku, HIV can be completely eliminated by 2030 within the remaining 6 years if people living with HIV are all encouraged to embrace treatment to suppress epidemic by the desired period.

However, Nakku showed concern of the increasing stigma to the people living with the diseases and discrimination to the minority groups which hinders Uganda’s efforts to end HIV by 2030. She added that Uganda can’t achieve its desired target if the issue of stigma and discrimination is not addressed.

Dr.Nakku also echoed the importance of adhering to treatment mostly among the young population and the adolescents as the magic bullet of ending HIV by the desire period.

The state minister for Kampala Metropolitan affairs Kabuye Kyofatogabye asked the men to spearhead the struggle to end HIV by 2030 saying that they have the upper hand in this war because they are economically empowered compared to the women.

Kyofatogabye rallied all Ministries, Departments and Agencies to mainstream HIV as a government policy in all their interventions. He applauded the ministry of finance for instructing all ministries, departments, Agencies and local governments to allocate 0.1 percent to handle HIV intervention.

He also argued men to spearhead the campaign of ending HIV/ Aids infections in the country because they are more economically empowered and are persuasive in nature. He also warned then to stop luring especially young girls into sex activities.

Dr. Daniel Byamukama who heads the HIV prevention division at the Uganda Aids Commission also called upon individuals to participate in the efforts to end the disease by 2030.

He also revealed that there are some opinion leaders who fight government science programs such as circumcision and use of condoms yet they have proved to be effective in combating new infections.

“ As Aids Commission, we can’t now complain about the government and about money, today we are calling upon individuals who are standing on the way and sabotage efforts geared towards ending HIV infections. We are making little progress and we risk defaulting on our national commitment to end HIV by 2030, because we are self-sabotaging as a culture”. Dr. Byamukama stated.

Dr. Steven Watiti who has lived with HIV/AIDS for more than 35 years revealed that most of the people who fail on the treatment are because of stigma and of lack knowledge about the disease.

He further said that as Uganda commemorates the international candle light Memorial Day, we stand in solidarity with people and families who have lost their dear ones through AIDS infections and this will help us to end the epidemic. He also said that we can stop new infections by taking the medicine with good adherence to an undetectable viral load where they can’t transmit the disease.

The Candlelight Memorial Day is to honour and remember those who have died from HIV/AIDS. Candle light vigil and ceremonies are often held to raise awareness and show support for those affected by the disease.

This year’s celebrations will be held in Hoima City and will be graces by the Prime Minister Rt. Hon Robinah Nabbanja on 17th May, 2024.

Derek Kanalo
the authorDerek Kanalo
News Reporter/ Editor
Am a professionally trained and well skilled media personality. Accuracy is part of my top priority as a journalist.