Local governments rallied on HIV/AIDS fight 

He urged different districts in Uganda to allocate 0.1% of their budgets to support the fight against HIV and AIDS.  

Hoima: Stakeholders from across the region gathered at Hoima district council hall in Kasingo for a meeting to review the progress of the Presidential Initiative on HIV and reignite the fight against the epidemic ahead of the International Candlelight Memorial Day commemoration.

Dr. Vincent Bagambe, the Director of Planning and Strategic Information at the Uganda AIDS Commission, explained that they commemorate the International Candlelight Memorial Day to honor the lives lost to HIV and AIDS and also remember the loved ones lost, the families torn apart, and the communities distressed by AIDS.

Dr. Bagambe disclosed that today is not just about remembrance; it’s also a call to action; thus, the masses must continue the fight against HIV, and he urged everyone to join this struggle.

As the candles were lit, a sea of flickering lights illuminated the faces of the gathered crowd, symbolizing solidarity and resolve, and Dr. Bagambe inspired the masses to join the fight against HIV and work towards a brighter, healthier future for all Ugandans.

“The theme of this year’s commemoration is “Engaging Communities, Empowering People.”

Dr. Bagambe urged different districts in Uganda to allocate 0.1% of their budgets to support the fight against HIV and AIDS. 

Leilah Bbaale, the Head of Media and Publicity Directorate, has emphasized the vital role of the media in the fight against HIV.

Speaking during the stakeholders meeting ahead of the International Candlelight Memorial Day, Bbaale noted that the media has the power to shape public opinion, influence behavior, and amplify the voices of those affected by HIV, adding that the media is a critical partner in efforts to end HIV, raise awareness, and combat stigma.

She highlighted the importance of responsible reporting, citing the need to avoid sensationalism and stigmatizing language that can further marginalize those living with HIV.

Bbaale also commended media outlets that have consistently covered HIV-related issues, saying their dedication to this cause has helped keep the conversation alive, inspired others to join the fight, and implored them to do more.

Dr. Betty Nsangi, Project Manager at Baylor Uganda’s Bunyoro Region office, has sounded the alarm over the devastating impact of economic challenges on young girls and women in the region.

Dr. Nsangi revealed that many young girls are engaging in transactional sex to make ends meet, exposing them to the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

The region also grapples with a high burden of gender-based violence (GBV), with over 1000 cases identified annually. Dr. Nsangi noted that this perpetuates a cycle of violence, fear, and vulnerability, further fueling the HIV epidemic.

She says townships and areas along the Albertine region are particularly affected, with limited access to healthcare and social services worsening the problem.

Dr. Nsangi called for a multi-faceted approach to address the economic, social, and health challenges facing the region, adding that there is a need to work together to create economic opportunities, strengthen healthcare systems, and promote community-led initiatives to prevent GBV and HIV.

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