Via New Vision: HIV infections in Kasese not receding. Excerpt:
The rate of HIV infections in Kasese district is not receding especially in the urban centres and the fishing villages, the area secretary for social services, John Businge says.
Speaking at an annual review meeting for the major stakeholders in the ‘Combination HIV Prevention Programme’, at Verina Gardens Hotel in Kasese town, Businge blamed the situation on salary earners who he said had no sympathy for the generations to come.
“Among the people who are spreading the disease are the learned class – both men and women – who earn salary and many of them have refused to test for HIV,” said Businge said.
He listed the most HIV transmission spotlight places in Kasese district as Hima town, Kasese Municipality, Mpondwe border and the fishing villages of Lake Katwe, Kasenyi, Hamukungu, Katunguru and Kahendero due to the nature of activities in the affected areas.
Businge who represents Hima town in the Kasese district council, testified to the meeting that the town receives about 150 trucks from various places in the East African Community member countries and the DR Congo to ferry Cement from Hima Cement Factory.
“Each truck has a minimum of two men giving a total of 300 men who say they don’t have to carry Blankets because Hima and the surrounding places have enough women with beds’, Businge said.
According to Data provided by Kasese District HIV/AIDS focal person, John B.Thawite, the current official HIV infection rate in the south western region of the country where the district falls stands at 8.2% which is above the national rate which currently stands at 7.3%.
“But there are spotlight places like Kasese Municipality, Hima town and Mpondwe border where the infection rates are varying and higher due to the nature of activities in the affected places ”, Thawite said.
A survey carried in Kasese in 2013 under a government project called ‘Priorities for Local Aids Control Efforts [PLACE]’ revealed that 14.5% of the females working in Bars, Lodges and Hotels in the district were HIV positive while the male workers were stood at 5.4%.
The survey also revealed that the most infected age group was between 30 and 34 and those between 40 and 44.
In his presentation, the District Health Officer, Dr. Yusufu Baseke, told the meeting that the ‘Combination HIV Prevention Strategy’ was succeeding in mountainous areas where testing in some villages have found no resident tested is affected with HIV.
Dr. Baseke blamed the non-declining HIV infections on the lower lands of the district to the ever increasing immorality especially among the youth and the adamancy among the men who refuse to test to establish their Sero status.
“Another problem frustrating the fight against HIV is the Stock-outs of testing kits, the ARV Drugs and shortage of condoms”, Baseke said.