"The country cannot have a middle-income economy when the future generation is not healthy."
The United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has partnered with Buganda Kingdom to revive the fight against the epidemic.
During her visit to the Katikiiro (kingdom prime minister) Charles Peter Mayiga at his office at Bulange- Mengo, UNAIDS country director Sande Amakobe said they had come out to join hands with Buganda to reduce the escalating problem in the kingdom.
"It is worrying that more people are getting infected in this region. We need to work together and reinvigorate the campaign against infection, especially among the young girls," she said.
In their recent data, the new infections in Uganda stood at an estimated 83,000 by December 2015, with about 40,000 infections in central region.
The highest ranking districts with infections include Lwengo, Ssembabule, Rakai, MubendE, Bukomansimbi, Rakai, Mityana, Wakiso and Kalangala.
"This is very worrying and it means something is wrong," said Amakobe.
She hailed the Nnabagereka Sylvia Nagginda for her Kisaakate (royal enclosure) initiative for girls, saying it should be a model for other parts of the country to guide young girls.
"We want to join hands with all traditional institutions to fight this epidemic," she said.
She also applauded President Yoweri Museveni for his continued campaign against the scourge, saying all leaders need to borrow a leaf.
"We need to revive this call because the youth seem to have forgotten that AIDS still exists.”
‘It is worrying’
Sarah Nakku, the community mobilization and networking adviser at UNAIDS, said islands contribute about 35% to new infections.
"People on the islands are still ignorant and need to be sensitized. That is why we are taking this year's AIDS Day – December 1 – to Kalangala," she said.
On his part, prime minister Mayiga said Buganda is also concerned and had placed more emphasis on young people and their health.
"The country cannot have a middle-income economy when the future generation is not healthy. We always have partnerships with government on health and we think this time we are going to sit down with my cabinet and see how we address this matter. It is so worrying.”
He said HIV needs a quick response because it is contagious, unlike other epidemics.
"We are grateful that you [UNAIDS] chose to partner with us in this fight. It is even so worrying on islands. We hear young girls trade sex at sh3000 for protected sex and sh10, 000 without protection,” said Mayiga, blaming the problem on reckless lifestyles of young people.