Desperate times call for desperate measures indeed. Some ingenious residents of Kamuli District have taken to passing off as being HIV-positive in order to benefit from an array of NGO-funded income generating programmes that have been started up for people living with HIV.
Others have also taken to hiring out their children to sponsors, members of the Kamuli Branch of the National Forum for People Living with HIV Networks (NAFOPHANU), have revealed.
Speaking in Kamuli last week, the Coordinator of NAFOPHANU Kamuli, Ms Judith Hatoho, said many people claiming to be living with HIV had been accessing Septrin at Nabirumba Health Centre as a way of duping officials of the NGO Plan International to list them as beneficiaries in a goat-rearing project that the NGO had set up for HIV-positive persons.
Ms Hatoho also revealed that efforts are being made to encourage people living with HIV to adhere to the ARV therapy, especially now that ARV’s can be accessed at Health Centre IIIs in the district.
The coordinator of the Young Positives, an association of children and young people living with HIV/Aids, Mr Brian Ibanda, told the same meeting that many HIV-positive persons have resorted to using names different from those by which they are known in the communities because of lack of secrecy among health workers.
Mr Ibanda said this makes it difficult for health workers on outreach programmes to trace them in the communities where they live. Persons living with HIV, he said, are also forced to seek help at bigger health facilities like Kamuli Mission Hospital and Kamuli General Hospital due to shortages of drugs, irregular outreaches and delay of supply of drugs.