The Minister in Charge of Office of the President, Esther Mbayo has revealed that in a single day over 143 Ugandans are infected with HIV while 71 die of AIDS-related illnesses.
Mbayo, who was addressing journalists at the Media Centre about the new Presidential Media Campaign on ending AIDS2030, said Ugandans must be reminded that AIDS is still dangerous despite the presence of drugs as many people think.
Over the last three decades, Uganda has battled with the Aids pandemic and a great success reducing (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) HIV has been realised since the prevalence from a national average decreased from 18 per cent in 1990s to 7.3 per cent by 2011 and lastly 6 per cent according to the last survey in 2016.
According to Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, such declines in prevalence indicate that Uganda has made significant progress in the national HIV response.
“The results of the survey indicate that our efforts are not in vain but we need to increased advocacy and awareness creation to bring the figures further down. If we step up our efforts, in partnership we can achieve an AIDS-free Uganda”, she said in 2016 at the launch of the HIV Impact Assessment report 2016.
As one way of boosting the efforts in fighting Aids, in June 2017, President Museveni launched the Presidential Fast Track Initiative to end Aids as a Public Health threat by 2030 in an effort to reinvigorate national efforts especially HIV/Aids prevention and awareness efforts.
“Although recent reviews indicated that the burden is still huge with 1000 people getting newly infected with HIV and 500 people dying of Aids-related illnesses every week. For the past two years, Uganda Aids Commission has been coordinating the Presidential Fast Track Initiative to end Aids and a recent review shows that we are on course to achieve the UNAIDS targets of 90-90-90,” said Mbayo.
She added for the campaign to be successful, Museveni is challenging all stakeholders to simplify the HIV/Aids prevention messages.
“His Excellency calls upon all of us to refocus the message; understanding how HIV is transmitted and therefore avoiding getting infected with HIV; we need to constantly remind our people that HIV is still with us, has no cure and that everyone should do whatever they can to avoid it. He also reminds us that the main causes of HIV are known and therefore it can easily be avoided by observing some simple behavioural aspects such as: delaying sex especially for young people until one is of age and ready for consequences of sex, being faithful to each other for adults who are in consenting relationships, The other aspect is that of testing and treatment,” she said.
Mbayo added that Science has proved that when one tests for HIV and finds out that is positive there are benefits if she/he starts treatment immediately even if he/she doesn’t feel unwell, needs to take drugs properly and consistently. That is the way one can be able to reduce the virus in the body considerably to the extent that it can not be transmitted to another partner and also carry on his work normally.
She, however, cautioned that although there is the availability of drugs it should not be an open invitation for complacency. People need to understand that taking ARVs is burdensome, goes on for life and sometimes may come with side effects. ARVs are not a cure for HIV but only provide relief.
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