HIV prevalence in Lyantonde still high - report

HIV prevalence in Lyantonde still high - report
Condom Day

In response to the growing urgency of the situation, stakeholders have pledged to intensify efforts aimed at HIV prevention, testing, and treatment.

LYANTONDE - Leaders in Lyantonde District are grappling with a concerning revelation as new data unveils a surge in the HIV prevalence, which has reached a staggering 10.1%.

This figure, doubling the national average of about 5%, has sparked concern among local authorities and health officials.

The alarming statistics were brought to light during the International Condom Day celebrations held at the district headquarters on Tuesday.

Dr Moses Nkanika, the district health officer, cited high number of commercial sex workers operating in the district as a primary driver behind the surge in HIV prevalence.

He emphasized the urgent need for targeted interventions to address this issue effectively.

"The prevalence rate in Lyantonde is deeply concerning and demands immediate action," Dr Nkanika said. "The presence of a significant number of commercial sex workers underscores the urgent need for comprehensive measures to curb the spread of HIV infection within our community."

Dr Nkanika said this has put a strain on the district to meet the UNAIDS strategy targets of 95, 95, 95 by 2030, citing significant gaps in HIV prevention and treatment efforts in Lyantonde. ‘

"The percentage of people who have HIV and knowing we are still at 84%, which is a bit low," he added.

Local leaders echoed Dr Nkanika's sentiments, expressing grave concern over the implications of the rising HIV rates on the health and well-being of the district's residents.

They emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts between government agencies, healthcare providers, and community organizations to effectively combat the spread of the disease.

"We cannot afford to be complacent in the face of this public health crisis," said the district chairman, Mr Fred Muhangi.

"It is imperative that we work together to implement targeted interventions that address the root causes of HIV transmission and provide accessible healthcare services to those in need."

Raising awareness about condoms in Lyantonde on World Condom Day

In response to the growing urgency of the situation, stakeholders have pledged to intensify efforts aimed at HIV prevention, testing, and treatment.

Strategies such as increasing access to condoms, expanding outreach programmes, and promoting education and awareness about HIV/AIDS will be prioritized to stem the tide of new infections.

The rising HIV prevalence rate in Lyantonde serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges in the fight against the disease that is mostly spread through unprotected sexual intercourse.

However, with concerted action and unwavering commitment from all sectors of society, there remains hope for stemming the spread of the virus and safeguarding the health and well-being of the community.

The Commissioner of Communicable Diseases at the Ministry of Health, Dr Patrick Tumusiime, highlighted Uganda's challenge as one of the countries with the highest number of people living with HIV.

There are an estimated is 1.44 million people living with HIV in Uganda today and Dr Tumusiime says 52,000 new HIV cases have been reported since 2022, with a bigger impact on girls aged 15-24, resulting in 17,000 HIV/AIDS-related deaths.

"And this is the student age group which is most vulnerable to new infections compared to others. This shows us that these are all missed opportunities for condom use," he said.

Stakeholders underscored the importance of condom use in preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, particularly among adolescents. These noted that despite efforts to promote condom usage, misconceptions and resistance persist among Ugandan men, with some citing discomfort and size issues.

"We are going to increase the size of condoms once we get enough information. I also want to assure the public that all condoms undergo mandatory quality checks before being released on the market," Dr Tumusiime said

Henry Magala, the country director of Uganda Cares, a non-governmental organisation, emphasized the critical importance of condom distribution in HIV prevention efforts.

Magala highlighted the urgent need for the procurement and distribution of condoms across Uganda.

‘We know that a condom is effective preventing HIV and other STIs but we see that the funding for the condom has serious gaps," he said.

Magala said in a national budget of $13 millions, only about $5.8 million is available, leaving a shortfall of $7 million.

"When you translate that it counts 56% of the budget which we need to raise enough condoms for the population. So, we call upon the government to come in and ensure that that gap is addressed because when we use a condom we are reducing infections," he said.

Health experts also called upon all Ugandans to be vigilant whenever they are going to meet their partners so that the country reaches the target of ending HIV transmission by 2030.

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