By Violet Nabatanzi
HEALTH minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda has called for a need to scale up HIV/AIDS campaign to ensure that there is increased abstinence and condom use.
Speaking during the launch of Pan African coalition of women living with HIV (PAPWC) at Metropole Hotel in Kampala, Rugunda disclosed that the highest HIV infections are occurring among the young people.
According to the UNAIDS epidemiological report 2013; 35.3 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are living with HIV out of whom 17.7 million are women, 2.3 million new infections and 1.6 million deaths.
The report highlighted that women in the region currently comprise 59 percent of adults living with HIV and account for 53 percent of all adult AIDS deaths. 39 percent of the new infections were among young people between the age of 15 and 24.
Rugunda attributed the increased rate of HIV in youths to unprotected sex, since many of the young people are not abstaining and as a result they are victims of the infections.
On the other hand Rugunda said the programme of Elimination of Mother to Child HIV Transmission (EMTCT) has produced good results because the number of babies born with HIV has already decreased.
According to the new annual ministry of health performance report the number of babies born with HIV/AIDS had reduced to 8,000 from 15,000 in 2012.
The report covers the period between 2012 and 2013. Heath ministry officials and its partners attributed the success to the amplified EMTCT spearheaded by the office of the First Lady Janet Museveni and the ministry.
The number of infections in newborns reduced to 15,000 in 2012, from 25,000 in the previous five years.
Dr Lydia Mungherera who is representing PAPWC East Africa said they are going to fight gender based violence because it is a driver of HIV/AIDS epidemic.
PAPWC is an advocacy civil society organisation which was set up by a small group of women living with HIV with the aim of having African continent free from HIV.
Mungherera said “we are also going to look at the area of treatment, we know very well if you treat a woman she will be able to look after the family because women are the care givers,”
Increased HIV /AIDS rate among youth worries Rugunda