Ambassador calls for clarity in HIV messages
Uganda needs to come up with more clear messages on HIV/Aids and population-related issues, the United States ambassador to Uganda has said.
Mr Scott DeLisi said conflicting messages create uncertainty and lessen the ability of people to protect themselves from the threat of HIV/Aids.
He said this contributes to the increase in the prevalence rate which is now at 7.3 per cent, up from 6.4 per cent five years ago, making it the only country in sub-Saharan Africa with a rising prevalence.
He was speaking at Makerere University College of Health Science to mark World Health Day which was celebrated on the April 7.
An estimated 1.4 million Ugandans are living with HIV and each year over 64,000 die from Aids-related causes.
“For example, in HIV counselling, people are told to use condoms, but in other fora, condoms are condemned as encouraging promiscuity,” Mr DeLisi said.
“Young men are urged to consider medical circumcision to reduce the risk of contracting HIV, but other voices suggest that circumcision only encourages them to act irresponsibly afterwards.”
The US government is the largest donor to Uganda’s health sector, especially in the area of HIV/Aids support. It spends about $430 million (About Shs1.1 trillion) annually to critical health issues in Uganda.
He said there was still work to be done to ensure that mothers receive Intermittent Preventive Treatment of Malaria and distribution of lasting insecticide treated nets.
By Flavia Lanyero