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Museveni: HIV treatment is a second choice of life

19 September 2013, 15:43 Godfrey Olukya

Kampala - Uganda's President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has cautioned Ugandans against relaxing in the fight against HIV/AIDs saying that while early treatment is yielding good results in as far as preventing further spread is concerned, it is a second choice of life.

“The first choice of life is to avoid getting infected with HIV/AIDs through Abstinence, Faithfulness to one partner and Condom use,” he said.

Museveni gave the advice Wednesday evening during a discussion with the UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé at State House Entebbe.

Sidibé, who is on official duty in Uganda, had just returned from the launch of the Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV (eMTCT) Campaign in Moroto, hosted by the Ugandan First Lady and Minister for Karamoja Affairs Hon. Janet Museveni.

Sidibé congratulated the President on his achievements in the fight against AIDs and added that Uganda is doing well with regard to prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDs.

He cited the Reach Out Mbuya Centre where the mother-to-child transmission has been at 0% for the last two years and Mulago Hospital at 3%, which shows that people who have access to early treatment live longer. This, he said, has reduced the number of orphans and improved the quality of life of people living with HIV.

He emphasised on the need to put people on treatment as early as possible saying this would reduce the infection rate by 95% and reduce the viral load.

“Uganda brought hope to millions of people. It showed the word that AIDs can be overcome and Africans can have access to treatment. This hope was built on courage, strong leadership and partnership. Uganda needs to bring back the courage and commitment of its early days to finish the job and have a generation born free from HIV to a great extent,” he said in an earlier statement.

Uganda was recognised as a leader in Africa’s HIV response and one of the first four developing countries to provide people living with HIV with access to life-saving treatment. But in recent years, the country’s HIV response has lost some momentum. According to government figures, an estimated 140 000 new HIV infections occurred in 2012, compared to the 120 000 recorded in 2005.

According to reports, Uganda is revitalising its AIDs response. New infections among children declined from 27 000 in 2009 to 15 000 in 2012 - a 49% drop. The number of women accessing prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) services in the country also increased rapidly from 45% in 2011 to 73% in 2012.

Africa continues to be more affected by HIV than any other region of the world, accounting for 69% of people living with HIV globally. Despite positive trends, in 2011 there were still 1.8 million new HIV infections across the continent, and 1.2 million people died of AIDs-related illnesses.

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Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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