The Committee on HIV/AIDS and Related Matters has prayed for government intervention to curb the spread of the virus in Amudat District.
While speaking to reporters, Dr Patrick Sagaki the District Health Officer said that before 2021, they had 175 confirmed HIV/AIDS cases but as of now the numbers have more than tripled.
“According to the current survey, there is a rise in new infections. In 2021, we had 175 HIV positives on treatment but right now we have about 600 people on treatment,” he stated.
Dr Sagaki attributed the rise to a number of factors including traditional practices including Female Genital Mutilation.
“These people don’t sterilize their cutting instruments and they may use one instrument on many girls so if one is positive, they will spread to others”
He added that widow inheritance also plays a part in the transmission of HIV explaining that after the husband’s brothers take on the widow, some of them just have sex without going for HIV tasting
He said that once the man gets infected, he easily infects his other wives since most of them in the area are polygamous.
Esther Acheng, working with Amudati district health office in charge of Mothers and Children’s Health that the public’s ignorance about HIV is also a challenge.
Acheng Esther, working with Amudati district health office in charge of Mothers and Children’s Health
“They are ignorant, we are giving information but people still relate it to witchcraft, somebody can be diagnosed with HIV but stay in denial as they infect others until they die”. Acheng stated.
Local leaders in the district also showed concern over the rising cases saying it continues to take the lives of the people at stake.
Andrew Ruto, Parish Chief for Lokoma, Amudat district said that traditional festivals such as “Lopeikirep” also lead to the transmission of HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
“Lopeikirep is a festival that occurs every year whereby the public most especially the youth gets a chance to engage and jubilate, it is held from August to December but its setting is not good since it goes up to night hours giving teenagers an opportunity to engage in risky sexual behaviours that can lead to HIV infection”
The remarks were made at the intergenerational dialogue in Amudat district organized by ActionAid International Uganda with support from UNFPA