Health

“Ugandans Not Afraid of HIV Anymore”

Such scary symptoms of the disease are no longer common

Concerns have emerged over the growing complacency amongst the Ugandan population about the  HIV/AIDS scourge.

Officials are worried that numerous studies and figures are pointing to a dwindling determination by Ugandans to control the killer epidemic, which partly explains the county’s fall in the county’s global ranking in the fight.

The Alliance of Mayors and Municipal Leaders on HIV in Africa (AMICAALL) who are championing an Anti-Aids campaign this month, believe that Ugandans are complacent because they don’t feel threatened by the virus anymore.

Dr John Mugisa, AMICAALL country advisor told Chimpreports on Friday that the remarkable successes registered by the country over the past decades had rendered the population careless and dangerously negligent about AIDS.

“In the 1980s and 90s HIV attacked and killed brutally. An Aids patient could not hide, and they died fast and terribly. But today thanks to ARVs and several other measures, AIDS is no longer noticeable. We live and mingle with patients without knowing,” said Dr Mugisa.

While the only means of telling an HIV infection today is through regular testing, Mr Mugisa noted with concern that a small portion of the population have embraced it.

The Mayors association is preparing a national awareness campaign running from November 24 to December 1st, which is also the World Aids Day.

Running under the theme “One More Time,” the countrywide campaign will see all mayors, municipal leaders and local government heads, mobilizing their people for a week of HIV awareness where different services like counseling, HIV tests, male circumcision, among others will be provided at selected camps free of charge.

“Ugandans nowadays tend to believe they have seen it all. They think they have used condoms, tested and done it all. But we are telling them to do it one more time.”

According to Uganda AIDS Commission’s Agnes Biribonwa, the country has seen a tremendous reduction in the number of new infections, of up to 15 percent since 2011.

This she attributes to revamped efforts by leaders including president Yoweri Museveni who recently took a public HIV/Aids test in Kampala.

Others like the Nabagereka of Buganda, the First Lady Janet Museveni, religious and cultural leaders have also been at the forefront in the fight.

As a result, Uganda has reached the tipping point where, the number of new infections (137000) is less that that of patients on treatment (about 800000).

Nonetheless, the 7.3% national prevalence as Mr Titus James Twesigye AMICAALL country director notes, is still high and worrying, which calls for unrelenting efforts.

The looming campaign according to Twesigye targets mainly urban areas where the prevalence in much higher at 8.3%

The urban population he noted, has the most at-risk groups suchlike truck drivers, sex workers and in some points fishermen.

 

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