Uganda: HIV/Aids Still a National Threat, Says Museveni

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni (file photo).
3 December 2018

Manafwa — President Museveni has said the persistent high prevalence of HIV/Aids infection among Ugandans remains a national threat hurting the country's economic progress.

"We are challenged to stop new HIV infections, support those infected with HIV and remember those who have lost their lives to HIV related diseases. I would like to remind Ugandans that HIV/Aids has no cure and that's why it is a threat to national development," Mr Museveni said in his speech during the commemoration of World Aids' Day on Saturday at Bugobero Health Centre III, Manafwa District.

In the speech read for him by Vice President Edward Ssekandi, the President said people's failure to embrace HIV/Aids testing and counselling remains a challenge in the fight against the scourge.

"I want to re-echo my words that HIV is an easy disease to deal with because it is not contagious like flu," Mr Museveni observed. s

This year's World Aids Day celebrations were marked under the theme "Know Your Status".

President Museveni explained that in 2017, he was forced to launch the fast track initiative to end HIV/Aids infections by 2020 after realising that Uganda had lost momentum in combating the scourge.

"The initiative is meant to reawaken us in the fight against HIV/Aids, like we did at the beginning when there was no treatment but managed to reduce new infections from 18 per cent in 1990s to 6.4 per cent by 2005," he said.

"We have brought the HIV prevalence down to 6 per cent from 7.3 per cent in 2011. But a lot more remains to be done to achieve zero prevalence," he added.

He called upon men to engage in HIV prevention programmes in order to realise results in the elimination of the scourge.

The President also launched an ambitious five-point plan to end HIV/Aids infections by 2020 with the focus on voluntary testing for men.

Ms Army Cunningham, who represented the United States ambassador to Uganda, said the country is on track to end HIV/Aids.

"These efforts are well aligned through 90-90-90 goals; that by 2020, 90 per cent of people diagnosed with HIV will be on anti-retroviral therapy and 90 per cent of people receiving the anti-retroviral therapy will achieve viral suppression," Ms Cunningham said.

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