The Monitor (Kampala)

Uganda: 130,000 Got Aids in 2005

Kampala — Ugandans yesterday marked the ninth International Aids Vaccine Awareness Day, with a walk from the Constitutional Square to Centenary Park.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Uganda Aids Commission (UAC) Director General, Dr Kihumuro Apuuli, said despite financial support from the donor community, the rate of people acquiring HIV/Aids is still increasing.

The World HIV/Aids Vaccine Awareness Day is celebrated every year to recognise volunteers, scientists, and health professionals involved in HIV/Aids vaccine research and to raise awareness about the hope and promise that the vaccine will be found.

"Despite all the commitment and large amounts of resources mobilised and commitment by the world, every minute, 6 people die of HIV/Aids and every minute, 10 people get infected globally," Apuuli said.

He said, in 2005 130,000 Ugandans got infected compared to 70,000 in 2003.

"Ugandans should know that the issue of HIV/Aids is still alarming in the country," he said.

HIV/Aids has killed more than 25 million people since it was first recognised in 1981, making it one of the greatest public health and economic challenges to mankind.

"We must have ARVs, intensify our prevention strategies and care for those infected. The only weapon that will give a final blow to HIV/Aids is a Vaccine.

Challenge

This is still a challenge. It is estimated that to accelerate the search for Aids vaccine, requires $1.2 billion annually yet only $650 million is being provided," he said.

The Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria last year announced that it had temporarily suspended its five grants to Uganda citing mismanagement.

The organisation made the decision after an investigation of one of the grants by PricewaterhouseCoopers of "serious mismanagement" by the Project Management Unit in the Ministry of Health that was established to control the grants.

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