Celebrating World Aids Day: What are the Impacts of Covid-19 on the HIV Epidemic?
Uganda has battled against the HIV epidemic since the early 1990s. The virus claimed so many lives leaving orphans, widows and widowers behind.
Currently 34 million HIV-positive people worldwide, 69% of which are in Sub-Saharan Africa (United Nations). The town of Kalangala, located in the Ssesse Islands, has the highest percentage incidence of HIV infection in Uganda. It is estimated that 27% of the population are infected, compared to 7.3% nationally (United Nations AIDS Commission).
Among many factors, ignorance is the prime reason as to why HIV prevalence rate in Kalangala is high. Many people don’t want to use condoms, the adultery rates are high while other people are even ignorant about their status.
When the virus first hit the world, the Ugandan government alongside other world governments decided to devise means through which they can fight against the epidemic.
Among the mechanisms that have been put up include the ABC campaign. The A encourages people especially young people to Abstain from early sex, the B encourages couples to be faithful and the C encourages the usage of condoms.
This however isn’t the only mechanism that has been put up as the government has increased on the services by bringing on board the best treatment combinations and still looking forward for the better, improved on the prevention services including PrEP provision and invest in the health workers with knowledge and skills in regards to treating and helping both positive and negative people.
In conjunction with the government of Uganda, well wishers such as donors and foreign bodies have come out to support the services in this same cause especially for the expensive tests needed during the support.
However, according to a study by UNICEF, it has been predicted that the covid-19 pandemic is likely to have a negative impact of the fight against HIV as it says; “The COVID-19 pandemic threatens decades of hard-won development and public health gains, including improvements in HIV prevention as demonstrated by the 52 per cent and 38 percent decline in the number of children and adolescents newly infected with HIV, respectively, since 2010,” says UNICEF.
Basing on the Uganda Population-Based HIV Impact Assessment 2016-2017, the prevalence of HIV among adults aged 15 to 64 in Uganda is 6.2%: 7.6% among females and 4.7% among males.
This certainly comes out to explain the reason as to why the prevalence rate in parts of the country such as Kalangala and Mbarara have seen the number of people suffering from the HIV epidemic has risen. Lifting the country’s prevalence rate from 6.2% to 7.3%.
Therefore as a country, we ought to come together and spread more information about the deadly virus. The young population needs to be informed about the situations in which they can be exposed to HIV and how to avoid them.
As we join the world to commemorate the World Aids Day, it is essential to know your HIV status and come up with means to ensure that we keep healthy and negative or avoid spreading the virus to other people. Youths need to be reminded of the ABC campaign so that as we celebrate world Aids Day every year, the number of people suffering from the virus reduces.
HIV/AIDS Is Not A Disability.-MC KATS