As we prepare for the Golden Jubilee, we must intensify the HIV fight too

Saturday May 12 2012

I wish to congratulate Ugandans in advance upon attaining 50 years of independence, come October 9. It will be exactly 50 years since Uganda went off the hands of colonial masters.

As Uganda prepares to celebrate her golden jubilee, the deadly HIV virus is also preparing to celebrate its 30th anniversary. It should be noted that Uganda has had less years of her independence free of HIV/Aids and more years battling the scourge.

Allow me to use this opportunity to thank the researchers and virologists for their efforts in reducing the damage this deadly virus caused this country, especially in the late 80s and early 90s. Their efforts have been fruitful in bringing down the prevalence from a double digit to a single digit figure.

However, there is still a lot to be done to reduce the scourge from the current stagnant 6.4 per cent to at least 2 per cent, or to zero percentage before HIV celebrates her golden jubilee. We have taken a big stride to reduce HIV/Aids (collection of diseases caused by HIV) to almost zero. This means that people living with HIV can continue to live a healthy life without falling sick or being bed-ridden.

The way forward is not to give up but adapt both biomedical, structural, and behavioral interventions such as safe medical circumcision for HIV prevention among all the sexually active HIV negative men.

Preventing Mother-to-child Transmission programme for an HIV-free young generation and total adherence to act to reduce viral load and reduce transmission and finally adopt all the behavioral and structural interventions like ABC, disclosure, reduced stigma and discrimination, proper hygiene and proper nutrition.

It is important to note that before all the above cited interventions, the entry point is Health Care Transitions. The earlier one knows his/her status, the better. Together, we can defeat HIV/Aids before its golden jubilee and have an HIV-free Uganda before we celebrate 75 years of independence.

Saad Rajaab Kaweesi, Luweero
[email protected]

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