Uganda Remembers 2.5 Million Lives Taken By HIV/AIDS

pilule geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 115%;”>Dr. Apuuli Kihumuro, click the Director General of the Uganda AIDS Commission, said Uganda has lost over 2.5 million people to AIDS over the years, and the call is on for Ugandans to stop new HIV infections.

The Candle Light Memorial day event is taking place in Luweero District, Kasaana Grounds on May 17, 2013.

The theme for the Candle Light Memorial day celebrations is “Re-engaging Communities for HIV Prevention” and the slogan is “Accelerating community action towards zero new infections’.

Kihumuro said government has identified HIV prevention as a priority in the National Development Plan (2010 – 2015) and is set to reduce new HIV infections.


Today, nearly 400 people in Uganda are infected with HIV every day.

The proportion of Ugandans aged 15-49 living with HIV is on the rise from 6.4 percent in 2005 to 7.3 percent in 2011, with about 124,000 new infections in 2009 to approximately 145,000 in 2011.

In order to reverse this trend, said Kihumuro, the Uganda AIDS Commission which is mandated to coordinate the HIV/AIDS national response has reinvigorated its HIV Prevention drive with new targeted messages.

“The Commission has set a framework known as the National HIV Prevention Strategy to strategically tackle and reduce new HIV infections. Furthermore, the Commission is re-engaging all political, religious, cultural, community leaders and the media in Uganda, with the aim to reduce new HIV infections in Uganda to zero by 2015,” said Kihumuro.

He further noted that President Museveni is spearheading this campaign, and is committed to work with various partners to put a stop to new HIV infections.

Minister of the Presidency, Frank Tumwebaze, said: “Uganda is able to eliminate new HIV infections if we return to basic behavior change interventions such as abstinence, being faithful and if all fails using a condom consistently.”

“Interventions such as voluntary counseling and testing, eliminating mother to child transmission, safe male circumcision, and antiretroviral therapy will further reduce new infections.”

He said Uganda was able to reduce new HIV infections in the 1990’s within six years by changing our sexual behavior.

The Minister noted this tremendously reduced new HIV infections from 200,000 in 1990 to 80,000 in 1996 compared to neighboring Kenya and Tanzania who took more than 15 years to achieve the same reduction in new infections.

The Chairman of the Uganda AIDS Commission, Prof. Vinand Nantulya said, “If we protect our adult population, protect our babies, and protect our youth we can meet our National target of reducing the number of new infections by 40 percent by 2015.

He said Uganda can achieve more than the set national target if all players pull together in partnership to advance the agenda of creating an HIV/AIDS free generation.


Kihumuro, however, noted that “Some of the messages on HIV/AIDS published on billboards, radio, TV and some newspapers are full of inaccuracies and have ended up confusing the public.”

He added: “For this reason we have set up a Message Clearing Committee to scrutinize all messages generated by different actors at the national and district level. These messages will be scrutinized for content, clarity, age, gender and cultural sensitivity, before they are cleared for mass dissemination to the public. He said simple, clear and consistent HIV and AIDS messages are critical in influencing Ugandans to adopt behavior that curbs the spread of HIV.”

He said the Message Clearing Committee will soon be launched by the Minister of Information and National Guidance.

The AIDS Commission appealed to Ugandans to get tested and know your status.

“If you test negative, and the vast majority of Ugandans are, you should continue to lead a lifestyle of self restraint that does not expose you to the risk of infection. If you test positive, seek advice and care from a health facility. Start and continue treatment for life. Stopping treatment causes adverse effects such as drug resistance.”

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