Stakeholders engaged in the fight against HIV and AIDS will meet at a symposium to evaluate the country’s performance regarding the elimination of the virus and develop priorities for the next year in line with the National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan.
The National HIV and AIDS Symposium organized by Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC) will take place from the 8th to 10th of November 2022 at Makerere University Business School Playground under the theme “ending inequalities among adolescent girls, young women and boys.”
The Director General of UAC, Dr Nelson Musoba, revealed that recently released data shows a reduction in HIV prevalence from 18% in the 80’s to 5.5%. Also, Dr Musob says, there has been a reduction in AIDS-related deaths from 22,000 in 2020 to 17,000 deaths in 2021.
Stigma and Discrimination has also reduced greatly, however, there is still work to be done, he added while launching the symposium at Uganda Media Centre on Tuesday.
“According to the people living with HIV, stigma index study done in 2019, 36.4 % reported that it was difficult to disclose HIV status to other people. 32 % revealed that they hid their HIV status from others. 68.8% of women living with HIV had disclosed to their children than to other family members.
“The most persistent form of stigma was awareness of family and the non-family members who made discriminatory remarks and gossiped about the People Living with HIV (PLHIV) at 34%.
New HIV Infections among young people
Uganda AIDS Commission further reveals that there is an increasing number of new HIV Infections among young people specifically Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW).
“Last year, 54,000 people got infected with HIV, of these 15,000 were adolescent girls and young women (15-24) and 5000 infections were from their male counterparts of the same age group. The root cause of most of these infections is inequalities at different levels. That is why the theme for this year’s Symposium is very timely” said Jotham Mubangizi , the UNAIDS Uganda Strategic Information Advisor.
The National HIV and AIDS Symposium this year will feature a series of activities namely: The Annual Joint AIDS Review, Scientific Conference, Philly Lutaaya Lecture, Partnership Forum, HIV Financing Dialogue and Exhibitions. Uganda AIDS Commission has partnered with Vision Group to execute this Symposium.