May 17, 2013

Uganda Has Lost HIV/Aids Fight – UN

Mr Musa Bungudu UNAIDS Country Coordinator
Mr Musa Bungudu UNAIDS Country Coordinator

A top UNAIDS official in Uganda has said the country is losing the fight against HIV/Aids, with the infection rates steadily rising.

Musa Bungudu, the UNAIDS Country Director, says Uganda is the only country in the Eastern and Southern Africa with rising HIV/AIDS infection rates. Up to 145,000 new infections are recorded each year.

According to the 2011 National HIV Indicator Survey, the prevalence rates among Ugandans between the ages of 15 to 19 are going up. It now stands at 7.3 percent and even higher in women at 8.3 percent up from 6.4 percent in the 2004-2005 survey.

Bungudu says he is disheartened that it was Uganda that was at the forefront of managing, planning, implementing and monitoring HIV/Aids for almost two decades,  but is now taking lessons from other countries.

The main forms of infection remain unprotected sex and from pregnant HIV positive mothers to their babies. Bunguda calls on government to learn from the mistakes that were done before and pick good lessons to forge a way forward.  This can only be done if the prevention message is moved from city centres to districts up country especially by the political leaders starting with the President, district and religious leaders.

Dr Kihumuro Apuuli, the Director General Uganda Aids Commission acknowledges that in the early phases of the HIV/Aids, Uganda scored impressive success when the whole nation got together in solidarity to fight the epidemic.

They brought down the overall proportion of people infected with HIV and more importantly the number of new infections per year. However, now the number of new infections is rising from 124,000 in 2009 to 128,000 in 2010 and approximately 145,000 in 2011.

This means that each day 400 people are infected with HIV thus exceeding the annual number of patients enrolled onto anti-retroviral treatment by two fold.

Dr Kihumuro notes that if new infections continue to rise the HIV burden is projected to increase by more than 700,000 over the next five years. Kihumuro says about 25,000 babies will be born with the infection each year.

He says the question that needs to be answered is where it all went wrong. The Aids Commission director general sates that it went wrong when Uganda lost its focus on behavior as the centerpiece of its efforts to run off the flow of new infections. Others reasons for the rising rates are being complacent through lifestyles of unprotected sex, general silence and sending messages to the public that do not make sense to them.

Bunguda, while talking about accountability, noted that Uganda is receiving loads of money to fight HIV especially from external resources. However, the dependence needs to be cut down by introduction of an HIV/AIDS levy.

Kihumuro says they have estimated that they can raise 300 million US dollars annually by simple taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, travel tickets and airtime.

9 thoughts on “Uganda Has Lost HIV/Aids Fight – UN

  1. Unfortunately we underestimate the effects of corruption! About 4 years ago, the civil society fund (CSF) was set up to accelerate the HIV and AIDs prevention campaign. Community based organizations were mobilized to aggressively advance the campaign. Over 200 CBOs were funded and some are still benefiting. One needs to be part of the monitoring teams to experience the unseriouness of Ugandans – thanks to corruption. A few unlucky CBOs were punished but the rest were not detected. Can you imagine money meant for the HIV and AIDS campaign and helping orphans and other vulnerable children was used to finance fancy weddings! Can one imagine that districts could not appreciate some facilitation to monitor these programs – costing simple equipment like desktops for more than twice the market price in Kampala? … Now, people shout about sacrificing children but do we know how many buildings in Kampala are built out of funds meant to save lives? Is that not human sacrifice?…the HIV and AIDs campaign has been lost, just like many fights…thanks to corruption. Unfortunately …It is just the beginning!

  2. When we want to bringing laws to halt the spread of the disease, the so called Human and western donors say you let the people have freedom of enjoyment, OK, now enjoy the freedom, most of the youth are geys and have all those sorts of behaviours. So CSOs with their corruption and all those stake holders, CSOs claim to be fighting corruption.

  3. Im not an apologist for fancy lifestyles of smokers , drunks and chillers , heavy taxes may impact on these habits however it is naive to think that this is the reason for the upsurge in the AIDS pandemic . I think government is not doing enough as regards the social economic and cultural issues affecting its citizens.

    If we cannot have proper health systems , schools , jobs etc we are joking , i believe we haven’t seen anything yet . Its gonna be worse !

  4. “According to the 2011 National HIV Indicator Survey, the prevalence rates
    among Ugandans between the ages of 15 to 19 are going up. It now stands
    at 7.3 percent and even higher in women at 8.3 percent up from 6.4
    percent in the 2004-2005 survey”.

    This age group are misled by some NGO’s project of circumcision where it is alleged that one is protected from HIV by 60%. This age group and even others therefore are now engaging in unprotected sex thinking that they are told the truth. Is 40% of HIV, if true, so little a dose to infect? Isn’t this also corruption by some people leading a strugge against the HIV/AIDS since it is a sponshored project? Circumcision per se is not bad for those who practice it, but not really be considered as one of the core startegies/menu in the fight against HIV Infections. People, Let’s remember A-B-C strategy.

  5. It is unfortunate that the leader has become the led. HIV can be fought ‘paka last’ only if we can change our attitudes about life. many ugandans,especially the women, have given up with life and are looking for any short-cut to death.
    Let us not blame any whites for our own mistakes. ugandans always behave like the doubting Thomas in the Bible. leave people to die until they will learn the hard way.

  6. The only way to reduce the infection rate of HIV in UGANDA is to increase the death rate for those infected. people,especially the youth, no longer fear HIV saying it no longer kills. This is because they are sure of swallowing ARVs and leave as long as possible.

  7. The HIV “wild-fire” is an extension of the poverty-related diseases. Poverty, Ignorance and Disease. We have moved one step forward but two backward….

  8. The percieved propaganda of safe male circumcision is costing big to the youth. So stake holders should wake up immediately and unconditionally.

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