What you need to know:
- Ms Jacqueline Makokha, the country director of The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAids), also told journalists that this year’s commemoration will be held under the theme: “Let communities lead.”
Dr Nelson Musoba, the director general of Uganda Aids Commission, has urged nationals to be cautious of the risk of HIV infection as they head for festive season.
“When you are excited, when you take alcohol, your judgement is impaired and when you meet new people, there is risk [of contracting HIV], so you have to plan for it. Let the young people who are not of age take precaution and abstain. Let the adults protect themselves and protect each other, let them use protection if they must have sex. Know the [HIV] status of your partners,” he said.
Addressing journalists in Kampala yesterday, Dr Musoba said HIV infections are still high in the country with around 1,000 people contracting the virus every week.
He said this while announcing the World Aids Day commemorations on December 1, which will be held in Rakai District with President Museveni expected to be the chief guest.
According to the statistics from the Commission, more than 51,000 people contracted HIV last year and out of more than 1.4 million people living with the virus, around 17,000 died. The figures indicate that new infections are higher among adolescents and young women.
Ms Jacqueline Makokha, the country director of The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAids), also told journalists that this year’s commemoration will be held under the theme: “Let communities lead.”
“Communities connect people with person-centered public health services, they build trust, they innovate, they monitor implementation of policies and services and they hold service providers accountable. Globally, communities are being held back and are struggling. They are facing funding shortages, policy and regulatory hurdles, capacity constraints and crackdown on some community groups,” she said.
Dr Stephen Watiti, the outgoing chairperson of the National Forum of People Living with HIV/Aids Networks in Uganda, appealed to persons living with HIV to adhere to their medication and not spread the infection to other people.
“We know what to do, we can stop it [HIV infections and deaths]. The few of us who are infected should combine efforts to ensure that we are not dying by adhering to medication while we are also not infecting others,” he said.
Ms Ruth Awori, the executive director of Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV/Aids (UNYPA), asked the government to increase interventions that focus on reducing infections among adolescent girls and women. She also appealed for increased local funding towards HIV/Aids to ensure sustainability as donors warned of dwindling funding.
“HIV is a big problem among children and the youth and this is because of various reasons such as mother to child transmission because of the challenges mothers face despite availability of medical intervention, which see them still transmitting the virus. When this happens, we need to support the children to ensure they adhere to the treatment and live productive life,” she said, adding that many young people are also contracting HIV through unprotected sex.