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Kintu Musoke is wrong

By Vision Reporter

Added 7th December 2005 03:00 AM

SIR — I wish to comment on your article “Open HIV clinic, Kintu Musoke tells Government” published on November 2. Mr. Kintu Musoke is entitled to his view but we at Reach The Children, Uganda cannot let it go unchallenged.

SIR — I wish to comment on your article “Open HIV clinic, Kintu Musoke tells Government” published on November 2. Mr. Kintu Musoke is entitled to his view but we at Reach The Children, Uganda cannot let it go unchallenged.


SIR — I wish to comment on your article “Open HIV clinic, Kintu Musoke tells Government” published on November 2. Mr. Kintu Musoke is entitled to his view but we at Reach The Children, Uganda cannot let it go unchallenged.

Kintu Musoke suggests that the government should open special clinics for top government officials, without considering the obvious waste of taxpayers’ money.

I would like to tell him that in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Government officials and the elite should actually spearhead the fight and not shy away from the ordinary services. His suggestion actually undermines the very efforts the government is making in the fight against HIV/AIDS!
We think that motivation is the most important point in the matter.

Top government officials need to know that these services are personally relevant to them. They need to know that they can benefit from them as much as others. Sometimes this motivation comes only when people see their friends benefiting from the policy, and it would be preferable if, Kintu Musoke could persuade people to act before they are frightened into doing so. Many people are now aware of the dangers of HIV and yet the prevalence rate is still stagnant at 6%.

This suggests that although people are being given the necessary information, they are not listening or are either unwilling or unable to act.
It is clearly not enough to simply dispense information to people if they cannot or will not turn this knowledge into action!

The policy now in workplaces is to protect HIV-positive employees of any organisation and therefore the top officials Kintu Musoke is talking about should be assured of their jobs and should thus readily access the available facilities at the health centres now.

If you say you have now devoted your life to fighting HIV/AIDS, persons living with HIV/AIDS now will look at you as their saviour! Do we now want to make them believe that treatment varies according to social status?

AIDS–related stigma and discrimination have become significant human rights issues for they are among obstacles undermining efforts to prevent the spread of the disease.

It therefore follows that stigma should be our utmost concern because it is both the cause and effect of secrecy and denial, which are both catalysts for HIV transmission.

Setting up separate facilities for top officials, will only fuel the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.

A number of HIV/AIDS activists have used their HIV status not only to help establish and maintain communication channels to enable employees to raise concern and grievances and access support concerning HIV/AIDS but also help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS to others.

A top government official with HIV who is living positively in not only an inspiration and a role model to the nation but also gives courage to others to cope with the situation.

Madinah Kakyaama
Reach the children, Uganda

SIR — Mr. Kintu Musoke’s suggestion that important government officials should go to special clinics to test for HIV is not well thought out. Our leaders should be role models in fighting AIDS. It would be a betrayal of the government’s efforts to fight the disease.

Jeniffer Oromo
Kampala

Kintu Musoke is wrong

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