For one to tell you that infection rates for HIV are falling would be telling you false news. The prevailing conditions are such that though there is a high rate of awareness how HIV is spread, the conditions on ground are such that the victims many of whom get the virus in an effort to get a living are many. A case in point is just at the higher institutions of learning where students have got to pay for virtually everything, and many surely don't have the means, more often than not, a number of these end up contracting HIV. Even when it comes to getting the condom, the situation is so difficult that many cannot afford to have a condom before sex, and chances of contracting HIV are high.
In Uganda, until we have a sensible economy, you can be sure that HIV contraction rates will remain high.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
NEW AIDS CASES INCREASE BY 60,000 THIS YEAR - RESEARCH
By Stephen Otage
Posted Saturday, October 1 2011 at 00:00
In the last eight months, the number of new HIV/Aids infections has increased by 50,000 reported cases, according to research findings released by the Uganda Aids Information Centre (AIC).
The research shows that although the national prevalence of the disease has stagnated between 6 and 6.3 per cent, the new figure is nearly half the 110,000 cases captured last year. Most new infections are mainly coming from married couples, sex workers, fishing communities and long-distance truck drivers.
As a result, Uganda needs to step up HIV/Aids control and prevention programmes to reduce the strain the country is already facing in providing medication to the patients already under treatment. The most affected group falls under the age bracket of 25-49 years and women are the most affected standing at 7.6 per cent. It is less among the new-born because of the prevention of mother-to-child transmission programme.
It also shows that the previous trends were a reduction in new infections. “The institution of marriage is failing. Families are breaking up. There is another challenge of people who do not want to know their status. 70 per cent of Ugandans don’t know their status,” Dr Raymond Byaruhanga, the executive director AIC, said while releasing the report, adding that the increase in new infections among married couples can be attributed to the breakdown in marriages where partners become unfaithful to each other.
Uganda has over 330,000 patients who need HIV/Aids treatment but only 100,000 can get access to it and remain under medication. However, the news is a disconsolation to the country at time when some development partners who have been financing HIV/Aids care and treatment are beginning to ask government to look elsewhere for alternative sources of financing treatment. Asked what impact this withdrawal of funding would have on HIV/Aids prevention and treatment programmes, Dr Byaruhanga said it presents an opportunity for Ugandans to change their lifestyles.
“Do you expect a muzungu (white man) to come from America to tell you to change the way you behave? Responsibility should start from the individual,” he said adding, “What we are doing as a country is reflected back in the homes yet most of the money being injected into HIV treatment could be channeled into fighting malaria and tuberculosis which are killing more women and children.”