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Over 46 Ugandans Die of AIDS Daily – Minister

Parliament has asked the government to revive intensive HIV/Aids awareness creation campaigns, especially among adolescents to curb the high rate of infections.

The call followed a statement by the Minister for Presidency, Ms Milly Babalanda, highlighting the high infection rate among adolescents.

“Infections among young people (15-24 years) accounted for 37 percent of all the new HIV infections in the year 2021, with new infections occurring three times more among young girls compared to the boys in the same period,” Ms Balalanda, who was quoting statistics from the Ministry of Health, said.

Ms Babalanda further emphasised that despite the progress made and successes registered, the country still faces numerous challenges.

“About 1,000 people get infected with HIV every week and about 325 people die weekly due to Aids-related deaths,” she said.

The Rakai Woman MP, Ms Juliet Kinyamatama, said new infections are high among the school-going age group. 

“The Office of the President and the Ministry of Education should work together to see that we have school campaigns,” she said.

 Ms Betty Aol Ochan, the Gulu Woman MP, said: “In the early years, everybody was vigilant.  We fought HIV and reduced the incidence but now everything is quiet, like we are contented. The young people think it is like malaria or flu.” 

There are 1.4 million people living with HIV in Uganda.

The minister added that the new infections are driven by, among others, multiple sexual partnerships, sexual and gender-based violence, child marriages, transactional sex, income inequality and poverty; high level of school dropout; stigma and discrimination; inequity in access to prevention; care and treatment services.

The Covid-19 lockdown over the past two years also negated efforts to control the epidemic including disrupting outreach services and access to care.

 The vice chairperson of the Parliament Committee on HIV/Aids, Mr Kisa Stephen (Luuka South), expressed concern that the Ebola lockdown in Mubende and Kassanda could lead to a spike in the infections in the two districts.

The legislators also decried the persistent low funding by the government and called for more funds to the cause, in the face of declining donor funds.

This comes as the country prepares to commemorate the World Aids Day on December 1. This year’s theme for the celebration is Ending inequalities among adolescent girls, young women and boys 

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