- The Ugandan government has formed an alliance with the media to focus on prevention programmes, in re-shaping its strategy in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
The Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC) director general, Kihumuro Apuuli, said the recent surge in the HIV statistics has forced the government to focus on prevention rather than treatment because of the increasing number of new infections annually.
According to UAC, Uganda registered more than 110,000 new HIV infections and 63,000 HIV-related deaths in 2008, while over 2.6 million people have contracted the virus, out of which 1.1 million people are still struggling with it.
The Commission said out of the 320,000 people who are in dire need of antiretroviral treatment only 191,000 can access it with each individual costing government over US$11,500 over a lifetime.
Uganda has made great success in bringing down its prevalence rate from 18 percent in the 1990s to 6.2 percent in 2005.
Mr Apuul said government and media should work hand in hand to make sure that all the prevention messages are carried out on both print and electronic media countrywide. “If we partner properly we can reverse the trend of this virus," he said.
"We owe it to ourselves to change the destiny of this country, we want to see a reversal and an end of this virus," he added.
Jesse Kagimba, senior presidential advisor on HIV/AIDS, said there is need to refocus on the development agenda because HIV/AIDS was bleeding the country to death. "We might be training people, building roads but we are bleeding to death. All these being trained are dying of AIDS," he said.
He appealed to the media to resume using messages that instil responsibility among the public saying it is the only way of bringing down the prevalence rate like it was in the 1990s.
Uganda’s was once Africa’s success story in managing to bring down it prevalence to a single digit, however, analysts said with the recent escalation of infection rates, this could be a major set back to the country’s fight against HIV/AIDS.
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