The Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC) is seeking shs16 billion to combat the current rise in new HIV infections.
The chairperson of UAC, Eddy Mukooyo says the new trend of HIV infections is worrying and there is need to curb them before the country slips back into a crisis. “Uganda currently has 53,000 new HIV infections estimated to translate into 300,000 new infections by by 2025, if there no efforts to foster positive behaviors” said Mukooyo.
Mukooyo said that if Parliament allocates shs16 billion for prevention in the next financial year, the rate of new infections will reduce.
“This money will go to prevention in communities to reduce the number of people getting infected. This will also reduce the cost spent on HIV drugs ,” Mukooyo said.
Mukooyo made the appeal at a retreat organized by Uganda AIDS Commission for MPs from selected Committees of Parliament on Thursday, 19 March 2020 at Golf View Hotel, Entebbe.
The Chairperson National Forum for People Living with HIV, Dr Stephen Watiti said that extra funding is also needed to run massive campaigns that will see all people living with HIV/AIDS access treatment and ensure adherence.
“For me this is a low hanging fruit that government should tap into with drugs everyone wants to live with. We have seen it work among pregnant women with HIV/AIDS; they are not transmitting it to children when they are taking their medicines well,” said Watiti.
Legislators were however, concerned that Uganda has relaxed on awareness and sensitisation programmes for HIV/AIDS and that the rise in new infections is an indicator of laxity.
Hon Businge Mugenyi (NRM, Masindi district) said that the laxity is breeding a complacent population saying that it is a dangerous trend for the country.
“Because we have drugs, people out there no longer fear HIV/AIDS.People say that I would rather have HIV than diabetes; even us women, we fear pregnancy rather than HIV/AIDS, ” said Mugenyi.
Kassanda County MP, Hon Simeo Nsubuga said he had not observed any HIV prevention messages in his constituency especially in the risky fishing communities.
“Our district is known for mining but I have not seen any programmes in the mining communities, neither have I observed any programmes among the fishermen, ” said Nsubuga.
A section of MPs proposed that Parliament should consider a law on mandatory HIV testing, saying that countries practicing mandatory testing such as Senegal have registered a tremendous decline in HIV/AIDS Prevalence.
”Mandatory testing is already working among women. As mothers, we are forced to test while pregnant; why can’t we do mandatory testing since voluntary testing has failed, ” said Hon Doreen Amule (NRM, Amolatar district).