Girls fear pregnancy more than HIV – report

Complacency among the young population has remained a major challenge in the fight against HIV/ AIDS in Tororo district. The district HIV/AIDS focal person, Willy Mungoma, said young girls fear pregnancies more than contracting HIV.

This has seen new infections among young people aged 19-24, a reversal of the pattern that was known 10 years ago when the prevalence was higher among the older age group.

 Mungoma said despite significant progress made in the fight against the disease, men had remained an obstacle. He added that men neither respond to HIV counselling and testing nor participate in preventing of mother-to-child transmission by escorting their spouses for antenatal care.

Mungoma made the remarks during the belated World AIDS Day celebrations held at Mukuju subcounty headquarters on Tuesday. “Routine data from the district health facilities shows that the prevalence in 2017 was 4% but is higher in urban centres such as Malaba town at 9% and Tororo town at 8%.

 In rural sub-counties, the prevalence is estimated at 3%. Women are more affected than men in all geographical areas. In children, there has been a reduction in mother-to-child transmission of HIV from 11% in 2017 to 3.1%,’’ Mungoma said. He added that of those who had taken a viral load test, 92% had successfully suppressed the viral load in line with the last 90% target.

Most of the leaders and residents shunned the function, leaving the invited guests speaking to empty chairs. The Resident District Commissioner, Nixon Owole, who presided over the function, was welcomed by empty seats except for a handful of children who had been attracted by the brass band. Owole was in the company of his deputy Yahaya Were.

The only politicians in attendance were the district secretary for works, Francis Olweny; LC3 chairpersons of Osukuru and Mukuju, John Paul Okanya and Oguttu Padde respectively. Other officials at the function were the technical team that included the deputy chief administrative officers, Joel Musisi, Jackson Osudo and Sabano Samali Epiat plus the district internal security officer, Frank Mpaulo. Osudo said politicians started dodging public functions, especially those where they do not get any transport refund or per diem, about four years ago.

He said whenever such functions were organised, leaders shun them despite placing announcements on radio stations and giving them invitation letters.

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Lukwago Joseph grew up in a newspaper family, and rumor has it that instead of playing the guitar in his infancy, his parents put a reporter’s notebook and a pen next to him shortly after he turned born eight years. Before becoming editor of UGANDANZ, Lukwago was a parliament news editor for WBS TV. He joined UGANDANZ in July 2018, A few months after the company launched. Lukwago also spent five years as a freelance reporter, where he covered reporting for the highest bidder, intelligence, foreign policy, and Ugandan police. Lukwago graduated from Makerere University in 2008 with a B.A. in Journalism and worked on his college newspaper.