Tooro Kingdom Concerned by HIV Resurgence in the Region

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Tooro Kingdom officials are troubled by the resurgence of HIV in their region, with the Kingdom’s capital, Fort Portal Tourism City, recording a 17.8% prevalence rate compared to the country’s 5.8%.

The 17.8% prevalence rate means that for every 1000 people in Fort Portal, 178 are HIV positive, a statistic that has disturbed Tooro Kingdom officials, including the King himself, Oyo Nyimba Rukidi IV, who is a Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Ambassador.

The Kingdom’s Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Finance and Administration, Kwemara Ngabu William, attributes the HIV resurgence to complacency within the population due to the success of antiretroviral therapy (ART), which has led people to perceive HIV as less of a threat.

Kwemara Ngabu notes that, with the introduction of the Single Tablet Regimen (STR), the pill burden has decreased, enabling individuals to lead longer lives. However, he stresses the need for the masses to acknowledge that, despite these advancements, HIV remains a significant threat.

He further stresses that there is a crucial need to disseminate new research findings on comorbidities, ARV resistance, the lifelong implications of ARVs, and the cost-benefit analysis of short-term pleasures versus lifelong ART, which will help to improve awareness of the prevailing HIV threat.

Kwemara emphasises the necessity for novel approaches to community education that foster critical reflection, lay the groundwork for attitude transformation, and address the vulnerabilities associated with tourism destinations.

Even though he underscores tourism’s contribution to GDP and employment globally, Kwemara fears that these destinations often serve as hotspots for heightened HIV vulnerability due to factors like alcohol consumption, which impair judgement, and calls for vigilance as an essential factor in mitigating these risks.

Tooro Kingdom’s Health Minister, Dr. Beyeza Tito, has initiated discussions with the Uganda AIDS Commission to address this pressing issue.

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