In line with the Presidential initiative to end HIV/AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, President Yoweri Museveni is calling for an effective communication approach in disseminating messages relating to the prevention of HIV/AIDS.
The President has provided a set of public awareness HIV and AIDS messages that are meant to contribute to ongoing efforts in ensuring that the country is able to meet its Global Targets of ending AIDS by 2030.
This was revealed by the Minister of Presidency, Esther Mbayo during a news conference in Kampala on Wednesday
Mbayo said the messages provided by the President cover a range of HV/AIDS themes and are going to be broadcast on a number of media platforms including television and radio stations throughout the country.
Some of the themes that the President addresses include “Young people and HIV”, “HIV testing”, “Getting Men to embrace testing” and safer health care lifestyles”, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission”, “Importance of the Test and Treat”, “sustainability of the HIV/AIDS response including Institutional effectiveness”.
“His Excellency President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is challenging all of us to simplify the HIV/AIDS prevention messages. He calls upon all of us to refocus the message; understanding how HIV is transmitted and therefore avoiding getting infected with HIV; we need to constantly remind our people that HIV is still with us, has no cure and that everyone should do whatever they can to avoid it,” Mabyo said.
The President has stressed the need to prioritize prevention through simple behavioral aspects since the main causes of HIV are known.
Museveni says there is need to delay sex especially for young people until one is of age and ready for consequences of sex and being faithful to each other for adults who are in consenting relationships.
“The other aspect that the President emphasizes is that of testing and treatment. Science has shown that when you test for HIV and you are positive there are benefits if you start on treatment immediately even if you don’t feel unwell, take your drugs properly and consistently,” the Minister told reporters.
“That way you will be able to reduce on the virus in your body considerably to the extent that you do not transmit to your partner and also carry on with your work normally”.
Mbayo cautioned however that the availability of drugs should not be an open invitation for complacency. The public must understand that taking ARVs is burdensome, goes on for life and sometimes may come with side effects, she said.
As such, the President has called upon all stakeholders, including media houses to embrace and support the presidential information campaign on HIV/AIDS communication.
In June 2017, Museveni, the President of the Republic of Uganda therefore launched the Presidential Fast Track Initiative.
In an effort to reinvigorate national efforts especially HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness efforts. Over the past two years, Uganda AIDS Commission has been coordinating this Initiative and a recent review shows that we are on course to achieve the UNAIDS targets of 90-90-90.
Over the last three decades, Uganda has battled the AIDS pandemic with great success reducing HIV prevalence from a national average of 18% in the 1990s to 6% by 2016.
However, a recent review indicated that the burden is still huge with 1000 people getting newly infected with HIV and 500 people dying of AIDS related illnesses every week.