19 July 2012

Uganda: Irked Ethics Minister Tells Media to Reduce On Sex Talk

The minister for ethics and integrity, Rev. Simon Lokodo has asked local media to reduce on the amount of space and airtime spent talking about sex.

The minister says the more the media have discussed sex issues, the more promiscuous Ugandans have become, resulting into increased HIV infections.

"There's wrong propaganda and abuse of the media to sell into the minds of the people the fantasy of sex," Lokodo observed.

Speaking to New Vision, Lokodo also said there was need for stern action against pornographic media.

"Radios, newspapers and TVs keep talking about making sex. Our people have continuously become promiscuous. "

"Everywhere there's fun- making which involves risky sexual acts. The whole modesty of sexual life has lost meaning," said the minister.

He was reacting to the latest revelations which show that HIV infection rates in sub-Saharan Africa are reducing yet Uganda's annual new infections continue to rise.

The latest report from the UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) shows that an estimated 1.7 million people were newly infected with HIV in 2011 in sub-Saharan Africa, down from 1.9 million the previous year.

Of these, about 300,000 were children.

There were an estimated 23.5 million people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa in 2011, including 3.1 million children. More than 90% of children living with HIV globally live in sub-Saharan Africa.

General HIV infection rates in sub-Saharan Africa have been declining in the past years, from the estimated 2.6 million (2.4m-2.8m) at the height of the epidemic in the late 1980s.

However, Uganda's problem is only worsening.

Uganda's new infections rose from 124,000 in 2009 to 128,000 in 2010. At least 130,000 more Ugandans acquired HIV last year, according to the country's AIDS Indicator Survey (UAIS) 2011.

"Because of the too much sexual talk on radios and other media, many people, especially in villages, have started comparing AIDS to malaria, a curable disease. This must be stopped," Lokodo said.

"There's a lot of infidelity in Ugandan families. This softening of life has caused the problem to escalate."

The minister called for strategic interventions to awaken the consciousness of Ugandans of the HIV pandemic, especially the youth.

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