Dr. Daniel Byamukama who heads the HIV Prevention division at the Commission says their recent data shows that 45% of girls have been sexually assaulted by the time they make 18 years and that some of these end up getting infected.
Girls who have been raped or sexually assaulted are not demanding
for Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) drugs.
The drugs are taken after being potentially exposed
to HIV to prevent becoming infected.
Dr Daniel Byamukama who heads the HIV Prevention Division at the
Uganda Aids Commission says their recent data shows that 45% of girls have been
sexually assaulted by the time they make 18 years and that some of these end up
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According to Byamukama, this is partly why statistics are putting
prevalence of HIV among adolescent girls and young girls high at 9% yet the
national average for HIV among females of all ages stands at 7.6% which is
still high since adult HIV prevalence was at 5.7% by end of 2018.
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Byamukama says even as many centres across the country have been
established to offer drugs to those who require them at a free cost, uptake is
still low and as a result, many of them acquire HIV.
The World Health Organization recommends taking HIV medication
which is taken by those that live with the virus as an emergency response
following exposure to HIV within 72 hours of exposure and that it should be
used for a period of 28 days.
But, HIV Researcher, Dr Timothy Muwonge says that recent research
shows for more efficacies it should be taken earlier than 72 hours.
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However, HIV Activist Bridget Ndagano Juuko says while officials
are asking people to demand the medications, there are challenges at health
facilities especially encountered by young people whereby they are judged by
those supposed to give them medications.
“Youth corners have failed in many health facilities and yet in
creating demand government should be looking at some of these reasons. Girls
coming to Naguru (Teenage Center) tell us they asked for PEP and the health
worker asked them why they went to be raped”, she said adding that some girls
can’t demand it because they don’t know that PEP actually exists.