KAMPALA, Uganda – Two months into a lockdown to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic and many Ugandans are still struggling. Many people living with HIV/AIDS have been unable to access both antiretroviral treatment and medication, and worse still, provision for food as part of the COVID-19 relief packages has proven futile for many homesteads.
In Uganda, about 1.4 million people, or just over 3% of the population, are living with HIV or AIDS, according to government figures, one of the highest rates in East Africa, with about 23,000 people dying each year and 50,000 new infections.
UGANET as an organization recognizes that women are disproportionately affected, accounting for nearly 60% of adults living with HIV. New infections among young women aged 15–24 years are more than double those among young men and stigma against those with HIV is prevalent.
The major strides that Uganda has made to combat HIV/AIDS, bringing the infection rate down from 18.5 percent in 1992, according to UN data, with one million people on drugs to slow HIV developing and hold off progression into AIDS, will all go to waste if and when many halt their antiretroviral medication due to lack of food.
Uganda’s Ministry of Health and the government have been trying to address problems with food as well as supplying people with the drugs they need. However, UGANET also urges the public not to relax efforts in combatting HIV/AIDS despite all energies being targeted towards fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, which has so far infected about 419 people in Uganda as of 1st June 2020.