Uganda is today joining the rest of the world to mark the World AIDS day with unfortunately a high number of new HIV infections.
According to the Uganda AIDS Commission, by the end of 2019, Uganda had 53,000 new HIV infections which is approximately 1000 infection every week, with a large proportion of this occurring between youths aged 15- 25 years.
Dr Nelson Musoba, the Director General Uganda AIDS Commission tells KFM that the situation has also been worsened by the Covid-19 induced lockdown as patients could not access medication easily or those wishing to test for HIV could not access health facilities.
He says the ARV medication therapy should never be disrupted.
Health experts have revealed that COVID-19 is also threatening the progress that the world has made in health and development over the past 20 years.
As the world marks World Aids day, the UNAIDS executive director, Winnie Byanyima says the goal of ending the AIDS epidemic was already off track before COVID-19 hit.
She however says people need to be put first if the AIDS response is to be put back on track.
“We must end the social injustices that put people at risk of contracting HIV. And we must fight for the right to health. There is no excuse for governments to not invest fully for universal access to health. Barriers such as up-front user fees that lock people out of health must come down,” said Ms Byanyima
Meanwhile; the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has asked governments to prioritize investment in health if they are to achieve universal health coverage.
He says as the world marks AIDs day, there is a need to recognize that, to overcome COVID-19 and end AIDS, the world must stand in solidarity and share responsibility.
He says with the world’s attention focused on the COVID-19 crisis, World AIDS Day is a reminder of the need to maintain focus on another global pandemic that is still with us nearly 40 years after it emerged,.
HIV still infects 1.7 million people globally each year and kills some 690,000.
Guteress has asked people to stop stigmatizing or discriminating against people with HIV if this pandemic is to be defeated.
He says we should put people at the center and ground our responses in human rights and gender-responsive approaches.
Uganda today commemorate the AIDS day under the theme, “National solidarity and a shared responsibility towards ending AIDS’’