By Hanning Mbabazi
Kabale: People in Kigezi sub region are living in fear after a recent report that spotted out that over 3607 youth living with HIV are not on medication.
It is believed that HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the Kigezi sub region stood at 7.9 percent according to the 2017 Uganda Population HIV Impact Assessment.
The report also stated that over 45,000 people in Kigezi are victims of HIV. A number of youth with the virus is believed to be 7185 but unfortunately only 3578 of them are enrolled on the life prolonging HIV treatment.
Speaking to Dr. Edward Bitarakwate, the Country Director Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation in Uganda, told Thespy that this aint good news to the country, however appealed to Government to put in more efforts in sensitizing youth on how to live with the disease.
He added that those missing out on treatment expose themselves to opportunistic infections and subsequent death, which would have otherwise been avoided.
Dr. Karusa Kiragu-Gikonyo, the Country Director, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS- UNAIDS said, reports state that Uganda lose more than 500 people each week due to HIV/Aids claims.
He also expressed his worry that besides losing that number, over 1000 people get contracted with the disease hence emphasizing the public to stop being misled of opportunists who say HIV is no-longer a deadly.
The State Minister of Finance for Planning, David Bahati said Uganda currently spends US$ 800M, which is about shillings 2.9 billion in the fight against HIV every year.
He however, said the funds would have been spent on other developmental sectors if people were being cautious about their sexual behaviors.
The Prime Minister of Uganda, Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, said there has been laxity in the fight against HIV in Uganda. He advises those who can’t abstain to use condoms to protect themselves from HIV infection.
Despite having a relatively lower HIV prevalence rate, Kigezi sub region is grappling with low uptake of HIV services among youths living with HIV/AIDS, which makes them able to spread the disease further.
In July 2019, the United Nations Cultural Organization-UNESCO urged countries to stop preaching abstinence to teenagers because it is not practical.
UNESCO’s HIV and Health Education Advisor for Eastern and Southern African-ESA, Patricia Machawira, says majority of the teenagers are sexually active, adding that it is high time governments stopped wasting time preaching abstinence but focus on promoting safe sex.