Jane Asiimwe, one of the patients says boda boda cyclists and passersby have always ridiculed her as she goes for treatment. Asiimwe says some of her colleagues at times fear coming for treatment at the facility because of this stigmatization.
The 30-year-old recommends that the clinic should be relocated to a secure place for patients to easily seek treatment.
Mariam Ngonzebwa, another patient says it needs boldness for one to seek treatment at such an exposed facility. Ngonzebwa says though they have complained for so long, no solution has been provided.
She says since this is the only HIV clinic where they receive free treatment, they have no alternative but to face the stigma. Ngonzebwa says the would-be alternative service provider, TASO Masindi, charges at least 1,000 shillings per visit which is costly for her.
Meanwhile boda boda cyclists at Masindi hospital stage have admitted that some of their colleagues surely stigmatize the HIV patients. Justus Byaruhanga, the stage chairman however says those doing it were cautioned against the habit and threatened with expulsion.
our reporter in Masindi could not ascertain a comment from the hospital administration, as Adam Kagwa, the hospital administrator declined to say anything.
But Hajj Abdullah Sserunkuma, the Chairman Masindi Hospital Management committee, advises the patients to put their complaint in writing so that it can be looked into.
According to Victor Alum, the Masindi district HIV Focal Person, the prevalence rate as of 2010 was at 6.7% and AIDS service availability stood at 68%. Alum says the district is yet to have the current HIV prevalence statistics.
Being the only public AIDS clinic in town, Masindi hospital clinic receives an average of 200 patients per day. Treatment is given at the clinic twice a week.