Covid-19 Crisis: Starving Karamoja People With HIV/AIDS Shun Taking ARVs, Call For Gov’t Help

The current country lockdown over COVID-19 has worsened the living condition of people living with HIV/AIDS in Karamoja with several mothers and their husbands who have been receiving Anti-Retroviral Treatment at various health centers shunning taking drugs over lack of food.

Ms. Margret Ajilong, the coordinator of people living with HIV/Aids in Kaabong district said many patients have abandoned taking drugs complaining of lack of food.

She appealed that in order to make people living with the Aids follow the guidelines of the treatment, there is a need for the government and the ministry of health to help avail some food to them.

“On Monday one of the clients came to us very frustrated threw drugs to me and left that she could not continue taking medicine when she’s angry,” She narrated.

Sarah Moding one of the mothers living with the disease said, taking drugs without eating weakens a person more.

“Those drugs are too strong, when someone is taking them he or she feel dizzy and its worse when you take them without food,” she said.

She noted that she has not been missing her drugs when she was doing some business because she could get some money and buy food but now all businesses are closed due to COVID-19.

“Taking ARVs right now is a tag of war for most of my colleagues who are living with the virus because there is no food,” he said.

Dr. Anthony Okengo, the district health director Abim said the shortage of food among the families of people living with HIV/Aids in the district has made several clients to abscond from treatment.

He said recently the office of the prime minister sent some rice which they distributed to the families of those living with HIV/AIDS, however, it got finished.

“Government needs to send more food for these people and facilitate the health team in the districts to be in position to deliver the drugs to deliver those who are very far from the health centres,” he said.

Currently the HIV/Aids prevalence in Karamoja stands at 3.5% with the health experts predicting that it’s most likely to go up above the national HIV/AIDS prevalence rate which is at 7.3 per cent due to poor attitude by the Karamojong community towards use of condoms and abstain.



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