Uganda MPs Assess HIV/AIDS Situation in Country’s Northern Region, Effects of Conflict
A group of 22 members of Uganda's Parliament last week visited five districts in the northern part of the country to assess the HIV/AIDS situation and how 20 years of conflict in the region has affected the spread of the disease, The Monitor/AllAfrica.com reports.
Elioda Tumwesigye, chair of the parliamentary committee, said that people in the region "need serious attention on HIV/AIDS and more sensitization" about the disease. According to The Monitor/AllAfrica.com, the conflict and economic situation in the region has forced girls and women into commercial sex work, increasing the spread of HIV. MP Chris Baryomunsi noted that HIV prevalence is estimated at 8.5% in the central part of the region. The MPs said they were surprised by the HIV situation in the region and the lack of access to antiretroviral drugs.
The committee visited the Lira district's AIDS Information Center, which provides HIV tests to students in the region. MP Rebecca Amuge, who represents Lira, said men in the region are "reluctant" to receive HIV tests, adding that women are more likely to be tested. The reluctance of men in the region to be tested also has affected the HIV situation in the area because "one partner will know her [HIV] status and the other doesn't," leading to increased HIV transmission between sex partners, Amuge said.
In addition to Lira, the MPs visited the districts of Amuru, Apac, Gulu and Oyam (Mahfoodh, The Monitor/AllAfrica.com, 3/5).