What you need to know:
- Mr Kaawo Kaweere Naayi, the Bukhooli chiefdom prime minister, says since domestic violence plays a role in the surge in HIV/Aids among special interest groups in Bugiri district, they have embarked on reviving cultural norms.
As Uganda joined the rest of the world on Friday to commemorate World Aids Day, authorities in Bugiri district announced a one per cent surge in HIV infections this year.
The Bugiri district HIV/Aids focal person, who is also the district probation officer, Mr Deogratius Mwondha, at the weekend, said: “Statistics from the district indicate that HIV/Aids infections increased to three per cent this year from 2.1 per cent last year.”
Mr Mwondha, who revealed that the increase is “very rapid” among people above the age of 18, cited the district’s location as one of the reasons for the surge.
He said: “Bugiri district is on the Trans-Africa Highway, where many truck drivers make stopovers and engage in sex with teenage girls and prostitutes.”
According to Mr Mwondha, there are at least six renowned “gazetted sex commercial centres” that are patronised by truck drivers, including; Namayemba, Buwuni, Naluwerere, Bosowa, Muwayo and Bugiri Municipality.
Mr Mwondha also cites the presence of landing sites in the district, which he says have precipitated the spread of HIV/Aids as fishermen reportedly use proceeds from fishing to procure sex, and cited Wakawaka (landing site) for leading that cause.
Mr Mwondha further cites substance abuse among the youths as one of the drivers responsible for the spread of HIV/Aids in the district, saying some youth, sometimes numbering ten, share syringes to administer drugs in their bodies, thus increasing the chances of contracting HIV.
According to Mr Mwondha, some residents in Bugiri district are complacent, thinking HIV/Aids no longer exists and therefore take control measures of its spread lightly.
He also cites high rates of teenage pregnancies as pushing up the number of HIV/Aids cases, adding that Bugiri district ranks third countrywide with the highest number of teenage pregnancies, which he says is partly to blame because “the product of sex is pregnancy and HIV/Aids”.
Mr Mwondha, who was speaking during a Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Disability Symposium for Busoga sub-region organised by the Integrated Disability Women Association (IDIWA), cited domestic violence as another factor for the surge in HIV/Aids in Bugiri.
“Domestic violence is high in Bugiri district, while married couples end up having sex outside marriage and fall victim to HIV,” he added.
Ms Damalie Naigaga, the IDIWA Head of Gender and Advocacy, said owing to the fact that domestic violence in Bugiri was causing issues in the district, they decided to start a campaign against it in the area.
Mr Kaawo Kaweere Naayi, the Bukhooli chiefdom prime minister, says since domestic violence plays a role in the surge in HIV/Aids among special interest groups in Bugiri district, they have embarked on reviving cultural norms.
“The chiefdom has embarked on organising youth retreats to instil cultural values in them (the youth) so that they can grow while being aware that sex before marriage is not good.
It has been established that authorities in Bugiri district have launched Sub-county committees on HIV/Aids and started supplying self-testing kits to help people know their HIV status and stop living recklessly.
The district has also opened doors to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) dealing in HIV/Aids prevention to supplement the reduced efforts offered by the government in fighting the scourge due to lack of limited finances.
Bugiri district has also allocated 0.1 per cent of its budget to fight HIV/Aids in the area.