Students find trouble swallowing ARVs in boarding schools

“The negative HIV status certificate expires every time you have unprotected sex” – Dr Lawrence Tumusiime

Students in boarding schools are encountering hardships in swallowing their daily Anti-Retroviral therapy (ARVs), states Ms Robinah Gimbo, Programmes Manager at World Vision Uganda.

Speaking at the belated commemoration of the World AIDS Day at Hoima Resort Hotel yesterday (Friday), Ms Gimbo said that a study conducted among HIV positive students in boarding schools indicates that they find it hard taking their daily pill for fear of being seen and exposed by the HIV negative students.

She said many of them are always uncomfortable swallowing their regimen fearing to be stigmatised; expressing worry that such a situation will affect their health and life since they do not adhere to the prescription by health care providers.

It is against this backdrop that Ms Gimbo urged all education and other stakeholders in all districts to create conducive environments in schools that will enable HIV positive students to take their pills comfortably given the efficacy the drug has against the virus.

Audio: Gimbo on HIV positive students (English)

The programmes manager was also concerned that the current wave of COVID-19 has backtracked efforts aimed to fight HIV/AIDS given its effects on the population.

In this regard, Ms Gimbo said COVID-19 may gravely affect the strides made towards tackling HIV/AIDS advancement especially in Uganda.

Audio: Gimbo on Covid-19 affecting HIV fight (English)

Speaking at the same function, the Hoima District Health Officer, Dr Lawrence Tumusiime Akiiki, urged all stakeholders to employ the mechanisms that are being applied in dealing with spread of COVID-19 to fight HIV/AIDS.

The medic said with strict observance of restrictive measures to slow down the pace of COVID-19, Uganda has relatively managed to curb the transmission of the disease adding that such a leaf should be borrowed to check HIV/AIDS that has devastated the globe for donkey decades.

He called for a steady drumbeat to rekindle messages that HIV/AIDS still exists, is terminal and still beats medical science given the nature of the virus to elude medication through mutation.

Audio: Tumusiime on borrowing mechanisms (Runyoro/Rutooro)

The physician encouraged people irrespective of their marriage status to ever go for HIV blood screening so they can know their health status.

Audio: Tumusiime on blood screening (Runyoro/Rutooro)

In a message read for the Chief Administrative Officer, Ms Evelyn Businge, the District Natural Resources Officer, was concerned about rumours circulating around that some HIV patients are sharing their ARVs with their domestic animals especially pigs for fattening.

She urged them to take their medication following the advice from health workers for a long and somewhat healthy life.

Speaking on behalf of the Hoima District LC 5 Chairman, the Secretary for Finance, Mr Jackson Mulindambura, urged parents to keep their children busy at home and also keep a keen eye on them to avoid engaging in premarital sex that could eventually lead them to contracting HIV/AIDS.

He castigated people who deliberately infect others with HIV instead of fighting its transmission for a virus-free population.

“It is very bad for someone to infect another with HIV well aware that s/he has the disease. That is terrorism!”Mr Mulindambura said.

Adding: “Parents should protect their children during this time of lockdown to avoid joining bad groups and watching pornography which forces them to practice sex resulting in HIV infection. To avoid this, parents should keep their children busy with domestic work.”

Ms Barbra Kemigisa, an HIV activist and founder of Barbra Kemigisa Foundation- a Community Based Organisation that supports HIV positive young people to feel young, stay healthy and empowered, encouraged all HIV patients to adhere to their lifelong treatment, testifying that she has so far spent 12 years on medication.

The activist was unhappy that community does not accept people infected with HIV even at the workstation besides trekking long distances to access their medication.

Audio: Kemigisa on problems (English)

Ms Kemigisa warned people against reckless living advising them to always go for blood screening before engaging in sex to avoid contracting HIV/AIDS.

Audio: Kemigisa on reckless living (English)

This year’s day was commemorated under the theme” Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility.”

The figures

90% of the people living with HIV in Hoima are aware of having the virus

80% of people living with the virus are on medication

20% are not on medication and are not aware of their sero status

90-90-90 treatment

The 90-90-90 treatment target was set to help end the AIDS epidemic thus, by 2020:

 90% of all people living with HIV know their HIV status

90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection receive sustained antiretroviral therapy

90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy have viral suppression.

Current global target

The United Nations Programmes for HIV/AIDS has now shifted to a new target of 95-95-95 target after realising that the 90-90-90 target is being / has been achieved by many countries.


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