Teso leaders worry over high HIV/Aids cases

  A health worker takes a blood sample from a person. At least 25,000 new HIV infections were recorded last year, according to UAC. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • Mr Byansi observed that many parents tend to prefer to settle capital offences out of court. 

The authorities in Teso Sub-region have expressed concern over high prevalence of HIV/Aids. 
They singled out gender-based violence (GBV) as one of the leading causes of the upsurge.

Mr Isaac Ekellot, the HIV/Aid nursing officer for Soroti City, said: “Most districts have recorded many cases of GBV and this is accelerating the spread of the disease.’’
The information was disclosed during a training and dissemination of HIV prevention messages to journalists in Soroti District on Tuesday.

The rising HIV infections have been attributed to several factors, among them multiple sexual partnerships, discordance, and non-disclosure, transactional sex, low condom use, alcohol, drug abuse, socio-cultural factors, poverty and wealth gaps, gender inequality, stigma, and discrimination.
The workshop was held under the theme “HIV/Aids in Uganda: Young girls and young women vulnerabilities”.

Mr Leonidas Byarugaba, a gender expert from Uganda Aids Commission, said rampant GBV has increased HIV/Aids risk directly and indirectly by jeopardising sexual relationships.
He said by September 2023, a total of 6,250 GBV cases were registered, and out of these, Kumi recorded 1,106, Soroti District [955], Soroti City [829], Amuria [387], Bukedea [228], Ngora [292], and Kalaki [388].

Data further revealed that the new infections in Amuria was 160, Bukedea [120], Kaberamaido [150], Kalaki [140], Kapelebyong [70], Katakwi [150], Kumi [150], Ngora [70], and Serere [140].
The Soroti District Police Commander, Mr Rashid Byansi, said: “Statistics have shown that cases of defilement is becoming a concern. 

“From May to date, about 10 cases, of which two are aggravated defilement, have been registered,’’ he said.
Mr Byansi observed that many parents tend to prefer to settle capital offences out of court. 

“This remains a big challenge because those who wish to seek justice are few. It has turned into an income generating activity,’’ he said.

“As police, we have a challenge of investigating such cases [capital offences] because most times parents don’t want to cooperate with the police to provide more information. Some parents tend to hide their children [victim] from getting medical examination in case of defilement,” he added.
Officials also observed that men assault their wives after being denied sex and similarly, abused men don’t report cases.

Mr Stephen Asimwe, the HIV prevention officer for UAC, said a survey conducted in 2023 showed that there was an increased prevalence of HIV/Aids in Teso.

The demographic figures show that women prevalence stand at 6.5 percent, sex workers [31 percent], residents of fishing villages [23 percent], and prisoners [15 percent]. The prevalence is also much higher in the older persons.

Aids prevalence in teso
    Statistics from Uganda Aids Commission (UAC) show that Soroti City has the highest prevalence rate in the region at 13.3 percent, Kaberamaido [4.8 percent], Katakwi [3.9 percent], 

Amuria [3.2 percent], Soroti District [2.7 percent], Kumi [2.5 percent], Bukedea [2.2 percent], Ngora [2.0 percent], and Serere [2.0 percent].
     The national prevalence stands at 5.1 percent.