Following the spike in HIV Infections in 2020 and 2021, Dr. Daniel Byamukama, Head of The Uganda AIDs Commission affirmed that a full-blown HIV/AIDs crisis can re-happen in Uganda.
During the late 80s and early 90s, AIDs was reported as one of the major causes of death resulting from unprotected sex and mother-to-child transmissions.
Whereas many people who witnessed the gloom and sadness caused by the disease never wish to return to such devastating days of losing loved ones, Dr. Daniel noted that such a situation could re-occur if people continue living carelessly.
Speaking to Dr Daniel on the Brunch Talk Saturday afternoon, he said the country had made significant progress in reducing HIV Infections for the last 15 years but lost momentum in the years 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid 19 lockdown restrictions. As a result, 38,000 and 54,000 new HIV infections were reported respectively.
"We discovered over time that keeping the girl child in school is protective in itself. Unfortunately, due to the closure of schools, they were confined in homes with their potential abusers. Many of them between 15-24 got pregnant and contributed to the largest number of HIV Infections," he reported.
However, he was thankful that the government put in place measures for girls to return to school and those infected to receive appropriate care.
He explained that the limited service provision caused by the Covid 19 induced lockdown increased Infections as a movement for health workers to supply medication to HIV patients was limited.
"From the covid pandemic, we learn that it is so easy to lose the gains we've made and return to the full-blown HIV transmissions that are out of control," Dr. Daniel said.
Adding, "We, therefore, call on the public not to be complacent because it is easy to get Aids back to the list of the number one causes of deaths in Uganda."
Dr. Byamukama requested the public and the media to spread the word about HIV and emphasize the need for protection.
"I have heard people say HIV is like malaria. HIV is not curable, unlike malaria. Secondly, HIV requires lifelong medication and thirdly the medicines are donated. What if the donors cease the funding ten years later?" he asked.
He said that donors also experience catastrophes within their countries and could halt funding of ARVs anytime. He, therefore, advised Ugandans to be careful and adopt preventive measures such as abstaining, have one sexual partner, use condoms for those with multiple sex partners.
Brunch Talk is hosted by Olive Najjuma Monica every Saturday from Midday to 1 pm on RX Radio.