Dr Nelson Musoba, the Director-General of Uganda AIDS Commission says that following a total lockdown that was instituted to forestall the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, many persons living with HIV were unable to access their routine medical care or essential medicine refills.
Enormous disruptions in access to
treatment services for People Living with HIV/AIDS have slowed down Uganda’s
efforts to reduce HIV infections and increase the number of people accessing
treatment across the country.
Dr Nelson Musoba, the Director-General
of Uganda AIDS Commission says that following a total lockdown that was
instituted to forestall the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, many persons
living with HIV were unable to access their routine medical care or essential
Dr Musoba told journalists in
Kampala today that as a result, people whose livelihood was dependent on anti-retroviral
therapy decided to stay at home without taking drugs until lockdown was lifted,
a development which affected the test and treat strategy, which has been
promoted since 2015.
The World Health Organization recommends
that all people with HIV should take antiretroviral therapy, regardless of CD4
cell count. This is because research has proved that treatment, even at high
CD4 cell counts reduce the risk of illness and death. Research also indicates
that people taking treatment who have an undetectable viral load have an
effectively zero risk of transmitting HIV to their sexual partners.
Dr Musoba says that this, and other disruptions might lead to an increase in the number of annual HIV/AIDS
infections from 51,007 to a bigger number.
//Cue in; “Thar COVID-19
Cue out…didn’t have food.”//
Luganda//Cue in; “Tukimanyi nti
Cue out….oba kagenze waggulu.”//
Under the 90-90-90 targets,
governments pledged to ensure that by the end of this year, 90 per cent of
all people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90 per cent of all people with
diagnosed HIV are accessing sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90 per cent of
all people accessing antiretroviral therapy are virally suppressed.
Meanwhile, Dr Joshua Musinguzi, the
programs Manager AIDS Control Program- ACP said that the government countered
the effects of the lockdown and facilitated distribution of drugs and where
necessary asked security officials to allow patients to go and receive their
drugs from health centres.
English//'Cue in; “The ministry
Cue out….Particularly, ARVs.”//
Uganda currently has 1.4 million
People living with HIV, according to the Minister in charge of the presidency Esther
Mbayo. Of these, 6.8 per cent are women, 4.2 per cent are men, 2.8 per cent are
young women and 1.1 per cent young men. But only 1.2 million of them are on treatment,
while over 200,000 people are hiding within the population.
Mbayo, however, noted that the government
is now focusing on domestic funding for the fight against HIV because the COVID-19
pandemic has highly affected foreign donations.
//Cue in; “Uganda has pledged….
Cue out….the related deaths”''
Luganda//Cue in; “Twayogera era
Cue out….obulwadde bwa mukenenya.”//
A recent modelling exercise
estimated that a six-month disruption of antiretroviral therapy in sub-Saharan
Africa alone could lead to 500 000 additional AIDS-related deaths