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Uganda's Battle Against HIV: A World AIDS Day Revelation

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BNN Correspondents
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Uganda's Battle Against HIV: A World AIDS Day Revelation

On World AIDS Day, Honorable Kyofatogabye Kabuye commemorated the occasion by unveiling the alarming HIV situation in Uganda. According to the Ministry of Health, the country is home to approximately 1.4 million individuals living with HIV. Among these, 1.2 million people are currently receiving treatment. World AIDS Day serves not only as a reminder of those who have lost their lives to this relentless pandemic but also as an opportunity to support those living with HIV and raise awareness about the disease.

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Global AIDS Response: A Battle Uphill

The UN's AIDS program executive director, Winnie Byanyima, warns that the global response to AIDS is 'under threat' due to an unprecedented backlash against human rights. This backlash is mainly stigmatizing the groups most vulnerable to HIV infection. Nations with laws against LGBTQ people or criminalizing sex work and personal drug use are witnessing a rise or plateau in new infections. Stigma, discrimination, and lack of comprehensive sex education are other significant issues. The most recent report advocates recognizing and funding the work of community organizations to combat stigma and the more extensive backlash.

AIDS: The Global Picture & Uganda's Struggle

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As of 2022, globally, there were 39 million people living with AIDS, including 1.3 million newly infected individuals. While nearly 30 million of them are undergoing treatment, there were still 630,000 deaths due to AIDS-related illnesses last year. The UNAIDS goal is to reach the 95-95-95 targets by 2030, implying that at least 95% of people living with HIV should know their status, at least 95% of them should be on life-saving antiretroviral therapy, and at least 95% of those individuals should have an undetectable viral load. Despite these global efforts, Uganda is facing a unique challenge as children living with HIV are discontinuing their medical care or experiencing a rise in viral load after enrolling in school.

Children & HIV: A Concern for Uganda

The Ministry of Health has expressed grave concern over the increasing number of children living with HIV who are either discontinuing their medical care or experiencing a rise in viral load shortly after enrolling in school. Dr. Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, disclosed that a substantial 28 percent of HIV-positive children are not receiving treatment, despite the policy necessitating immediate enrollment for anyone testing positive. About 80,000 children are living with HIV in Uganda, but only 57,771 were receiving treatment by the end of the previous year. An additional 5,900 children acquired the infection in the same year. This trend poses a significant challenge to the country's ambitious goal of ending AIDS among this demographic by 2030.

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