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Karamoja embraces condom use in fight against HIV/AIDS

By Godfrey Ojore

Added 12th November 2018 01:18 PM

On a sad note, Karamoja leaders are concerned about the influx of commercial sex workers from outside Karamoja whom they accuse of infecting their people.

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On a sad note, Karamoja leaders are concerned about the influx of commercial sex workers from outside Karamoja whom they accuse of infecting their people.

Some of the ladies from Karamoja (Picture by Godfrey Ojore)

HEALTH

KARAMOJA - Condoms being one of the barrier methods of contraception, if used correctly can be highly effective against HIV and STI transmission.

The decline of HIV/AIDS prevalence in the region from 5.3% in 2003 to 3.4% in 2011 is attributed to the effective use of condoms.

“For every quarter, we distribute about 1,152,000 condoms in the entire Karamoja region, were we do a refill until the time for another release,” Aids Information Center’s Leo Ocom, who is in charge Karamoja region.

At that rate of 1,152,000 million condoms every quarter, it means Karamoja region consumes over three million condoms every year.

Speaking to New Vision in the sidelines of stakeholders evolutions on a fast-track initiative on ending HIV/AIDS in Uganda by 2030 an initiative of President Yoweri Museveni launched a year ago, Ocom explained that they have distributed condoms to all hotels, lodges, and disco clubs in the Karamoja region.

“The consumption is high among the youth and that is encouraging for us because we do not want anybody to die of HIV/AIDS,” said Ocom.
Residents of Karamoja region (Picture by Godfrey Ojore)

On a sad note, Karamoja leaders are concerned about the influx of commercial sex workers from outside Karamoja whom they accuse of infecting their people.

“We have ladies from Lango, Bugisu and Acholi vending themselves in drinking joints. When the men get drunk, many cannot remember to use condoms, which exposes them to the deadly disease,” said the LC5 of Kotido, Ambrose Lotukei.

Agreeing with Lotukei, Ocom explained that when Karamoja was opened to the world due to existing good roads and availability of electricity in some districts, sex trade became inevitable.

Ocom advised the Karamojong to either use condoms or be faithful to their partners, further adding that most men have continued to shy away from testing for HIV/AIDS, a matter that is derailing the country.

(Picture by Godfrey Ojore)

The district health officer Kotido, Dr. Terino Acharit blamed the prevalence to traditional practices that encourage men from inheriting widows.

“Much as poverty is one of the driving factors for HIV/AIDS prevalence, culture isalso a factory to blame as widow inheritance is also responsible,” Dr. Acharit said.

Uganda lost more men than women according to statistics from the Presidential handbook on fast tracking initiative, on ending HIV/AIDS in Uganda.

In 2016 alone 14,348 men died of AIDS as compared to 9,600 women.



Under the President’s five point plan of ending HIV/AIDS, Uganda should accelerate implementation of test and treat and attainment of 90-90-90 targets particularly among men and young people.

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