Dr. Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health(MoH) in Uganda, has revealed that many young people who are infected and living with HIV/AIDS are abandoning treatment.
She stated that they are also deliberately exposing others and putting them at risk of contracting it.
Atwine made the revelation during an interaction with youths at the pre-World Aids Day conference held at the Hotel Africana on November 27, 2023.
She also observed that many pregnant women choose not to get tested for HIV, exposing their unborn children to the virus, adding that there is a need to deal with young people living with HIV if it is to be defeated.
“If we are to defeat HIV, we need to deal with young people. Those living with HIV need more peer-to-peer support, and those who are negative need more awareness about HIV and its prevention methods,” she said.
“To you, the young people, when we were your age, we also had hormones that demanded sex, but we waited. We also had unmet needs but did not exchange our bodies for favours and gifts. That is why we stayed in school, remained healthy, and managed to grow into responsible, successful citizens,” she added.
For the sake of their health and continued education, Atwine pleaded with the young people to refrain from transactional sex.
Uganda Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (UPHIA) results for 2020 indicate that the current prevalence of HIV among adults aged 15 to 49 years in Uganda is 5.5 percent.
World AIDS Day will be commemorated on December 1, 2023, under the theme ‘Let communities lead.’
The theme serves as a reminder of the global struggle to end HIV-related stigma, an opportunity to honour those who have died, and a rallying cry to commit to working towards a day when HIV is no longer a public health threat.