President Museveni has advised Ugandans to do away with cultural practices that have contributed to the spread of HIV/Aids.
He said some cultural traditions such as widow inheritance and polygamy have influenced the spread of Aids.
“As a priority, our prevention efforts should focus on eliminating traditions and practices that promote HIV transmission such as widow inheritance, polygamy, wife- sharing and others which are high risk factors in HIV transmission,” the President said.
His message was contained in a statement delivered by the Vice President, Mr Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, yesterday in commemoration of the World Aids Day at Busaana Sub-county headquarters in Kayunga District.
The event was marked under the theme, “Encouraging young people to champion the end of new HIV infections”.
The President disclosed that one of the key underlying drivers of HIV is poverty, which he said has led to gender-based violence and HIV infections.
He, however, noted that government is emphasising access to universal education, and vocational and technical education.
“Once poverty is reduced, vulnerability to HIV would be reduced. We need to also emphasise behavioural change,” the President said.
He observed that ending Aids requires personal commitment as he called on Ugandans to be role models. He also called on all people to disseminate the right information on HIV/Aids on radios, TVs, and newspapers in a bid to end the scourge.
The Minister of Health, Ms Jane Ruth Aceng, said the vulnerability of young people is driven by engaging in high risk sexual behaviours and cross-generational sex, noting that championing young people in fighting HIV infection is important in ending new infections.
She said a total of 1.2 million people are on ART treatment out of 1.4 million people who are HIV positive in the country.
The chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on HIV/Aids, Ms Florence Namboozo, advised Ugandans to live responsible lives.
“It is from the tax payers’ money that development partners extend donor funds to us to provide treatment to HIV/Aids patients. They give us their money and for us we continue to misbehave sexually. Imagine what would happen one day if they pull out and stop giving us this money,” she said.
Ms Namboozo the Sironko District Woman MP, asked parents to sensitise their children, especially during this holiday about HIV prevention.
The Minister for the Presidency, Ms Esther Mbayo, said emphasis in HIV prevention is being directed to young people who constitute a big percentage of the population.
The function was also attended by Mr Richard Lutaaya, the son of late Philly Lutaaya, a musician who was the first to publically declare that he had HIV/Aids in the county.
Infection. HIV/Aids prevalence stands at 8 per cent, with Kampala and south western Uganda having the highest rates at 7.9 per cent.
Lango and Acholi sub-regions have 7.2 per cent prevalence.
Bunyoro, Tooro and Rwenzori are at 5.7 per cent, Busoga and Bukedi at 4.7 per cent, while Bugisu and Sebei sub-regions have a prevalence of 5.1 per cent.
West Nile and Karamoja sub-regions are at 3.1 and 3.7 per cent prevalence rates, respectively.
Other Buganda districts such as Luweero and Nakasongola have an HIV/Aids prevalence of 7.6 per cent.