By Ronald Nahabwe
The Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC) has appealed to Ugandans to maintain the use of condoms because it is the most effective tool of preventing and combating HIV infections.
So far another 53000 people have been confirmed to have contracted HIV, according to a recent survey conducted by Uganda Aids Commission.
Dr Dan Byamukama, the head of HIV prevention at the Uganda AIDS Commission, said the number of people using condoms while engaging in sexual acts is reducing every year, yet the risk of contracting HIV in Uganda is still high. “We are calling upon Ugandans especially men to resume using condoms because AIDS is real. Uganda and the world at large haven’t discovered the drugs which cure AIDS,” he said.
Byamukama added that Ugandans have become complacent, the reason why they have chosen to go unprotected these days, thus the increase in the AIDS prevalence.
He also intimated that Government of Uganda had increased funding in the fight against HIV/Aids by purchasing millions of condoms, drugs for patients and starting of awareness campaigns across the country,which he thinks will reduce on the spread of the same.
Research carried out by Avert and Global AIDS Research Centre reveals in 2018, an estimated 1.4 million people were living with HIV, and an estimated 23,000 Ugandans died of AIDS-related illnesses.
The epidemic is firmly established in the general population. As of 2018, the estimated HIV prevalence among adults (aged 15 to 49) stood at 5.7%. Women are disproportionately affected, with 8.8% of adult women living with HIV compared to 4.3% of men.
Other groups particularly affected by HIV in Uganda are sex workers, young girls and adolescent women, homosexuals, people who inject themselves with drugs and people from Uganda’s transient fishing communities.
There has been a gradual increase in the number of people living with HIV accessing treatment. In 2013, Uganda reached a tipping point whereby the number of new infections per year was less than the number of people beginning to receive antiviral treatment.
However, as of 2018 around 27% of adults living with HIV and 33% of children living with HIV were still not on treatment. Persistent disparities remain around who is accessing treatment and many people living with HIV experience stigma and discrimination.