HIV Spreads Unchecked in Kasensero Landing Site 

HIV Spreads Unchecked in Kasensero Landing Site 
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Despite being the epicentre of Uganda's historic battle against HIV, the Kasensero landing site is grappling with a resurgence of the virus as locals abandon preventive measures, attributing the rise to a multitude of challenges.

Residents, grappling with a poorly equipped Kasensero Health Center Two and dilapidated roads hindering access to the site's 8000 population, voiced concerns over the grim situation.

The landing site, located in Kasensero town council within Kyotera district, has a painful history dating back to the 1970s when HIV first struck, initially mistaken for witchcraft.

Nabakooza Annet, a longtime resident, reminisces about the fear that gripped the community during the early days, attributing the disease to witchcraft.

It was only in 1982, thanks to Professor David Sserwadda of Rakai Health Sciences Program, that the mystery was unveiled, leading to the naming of the disease as 'SILIIMU.'

Annet, who discovered her HIV-positive status in 2004, narrates her journey of fear, medication, and eventual hope.

However, she highlights the prevailing issue: the ongoing transmission due to risky behaviours such as prostitution, drug abuse, and excessive alcohol consumption.

Despite government and NGO efforts in HIV prevention, Kasensero faces challenges with residents urging for more education.

Tumushabe Brian stresses the need for continued awareness, stating, "People here are ignorant."

The shortage of health facilities exacerbates the problem, with only one health centre, Kasensero Health Center Two, perpetually lacking drugs. Residents often travel to Kyeebe H/C III, Kakuuto H/C IV, or Kalisizo Hospital to obtain essential ARVs.

Dr. Robert Ssekubuggu from Rakai Health Sciences Program emphasizes the collective responsibility to end HIV by 2030, urging Ugandans to actively join the fight. Despite the prevalence standing at 12-13%, new cases have decreased to 0.2% according to 2022 statistics.

As Uganda commemorates World AIDS Day under the theme 'LET COMMUNITIES LEAD,' Kasensero's plight serves as a stark reminder that the battle against HIV requires renewed efforts and community involvement to overcome persistent challenges.

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