National
Men fear ARVs, new study shows
Publish Date: Mar 13, 2014
Men fear ARVs, new study shows
  • mail
  • img
newvision

By Francis Kagolo

MOST HIV-positive men are reluctant to seek treatment compared to women, according to revelations from the ministry of health and findings from an international research. 

Dr. Alex Ario, the anti-retroviral therapy (ART) national coordinator in the ministry of health, yesterday revealed that the ratio of men to women seeking treatment is one to three, meaning that whenever a man seeks treatment, at least three women will show up. 

Currently, more than two thirds (about 70%) of the over 570,000 Ugandans on ARVs are women, according to Ario. 

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a standard anti-retroviral therapy consisting of at least three ARV drugs maximally suppresses the HIV virus and stops its progression. 

Although ARVs do not kill the virus, they attack it and stop its multiplication.  Experts have also discovered that chances of spreading the virus reduce when one takes ARVs. Ario said not seeking treatment puts HIV-positive men at a higher risk of succumbing to AIDS. 

“Men generally have a poor health seeking behaviour. By their nature men want to be strong. Even if they get infected, they will think that they can manage to live until the disease knocks them down,” Ario explained in a phone interview.

He was responding to research conducted by the Harvard University School of Public Health in South Africa that showed that several men will die of AIDS instead of seeking help. 

The study presented by epidemiologist Till Barnighausen in Boston, US, last week revealed that women in northern KwaZulu-Natal are living longer than men because they are more likely to take ARVs.

Harvard scientists followed 45,688 men and 52,964 women between 2001 and 2011. While there are usually double the numbers of women infected with HIV compared with men, almost the same number of men and women died of AIDS.

Like Ario, Harvard researchers also thought that men might feel it is not masculine to get treatment and called for more research to find out why most men didn’t want medical help. 

About 1.5 million Ugandans have HIV, with the number of women slightly higher than that of men.

The prevalence rate increased from 7.5% to 8.3% among women between 2006 and 2011 compared to 5-6.1% among men, according to the 2011 national AIDS indicator survey report. Although generally more women than men have HIV, those living in urban centres are the most affected. 

More than twenty antiretroviral drugs have been approved for treating HIV worldwide. Since their discovery about three decades ago, ARVS have prolonged the life of millions of HIV-positive people thanks to their ability to slow down the replication of the virus in the body.

In Uganda, AIDS related deaths reduced by 30% in the first 10 years of the introduction of ART, according to ministry of health statistics. The number of Ugandans dying from AIDS-related infections was about 50,000 per year in the early 2000s, down from over 75,000 in the late 1980s and early 1990s. 

However, Dr. Ario expressed displeasure over men’s reluctance to take ARVs, despite campaigns like compulsory testing of couples when a woman gets pregnant that have been introduced to encourage them take ARVs. He said it is hampering progress against the pandemic. 

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
The 18-year-old Kibonge, the oldest lion at UWEC, Entebbe has died....
HIV injection nurse set free
Justice Rugadya Atwooki agrees with Rosemary Namubiru, a nurse who infected a baby with HIV, that her sentence was excessive and sets her free....
EALA Speaker Zziwa: I am doing well
The Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), Margaret Zziwa has described her suspension as illegal....
Over sh16b earmarked for research in non-communicable diseases
Global healthcare company, Glaxosmithkline(GSK) is calling out for proposals for scientific research in non-communicable diseases(NCDs) in Sub-Saharan Africa....
Kampala pork contaminated - study
Pork eaters in Kampala have reason to worry for their health following findings by a veterinary lecturer that 50% of pork consumed in the city is contaminated....
350 teaching jobs available for PhD holders in Ugandan universities
About 350 teaching positions calling for doctorate holders are yet to be filled in Ugandan Universities and other degree awarding institutions....
Should Govt lease parts of Lake Victoria to private developers?
Its Ok
No Way
Not Sure
follow us
subscribe to our news letter