As part of the preparations for Kabaka’s birthday slated for April 13, Buganda Kingdom has organised a series of events among which include, sensitisation of the youths on how to prevent the continued spread of HIV/AIDS. While at Imperial resort hotel in Entebbe, the Katikiro of Buganda Charles Peter Mayiga revealed that HIV cases are still high among the youths in Buganda, than any other region in the country.
The Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi theII, in 2017 was chosen as a good-will ambassador for East and Central Africa by the Joint United Nations programme HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) to use his mandate as a king to spread the information of fighting and preventing HIV.
Due to his continued effort of encouraging people most especially men and youths to test for HIV/ AIDS and to seek for medical treatment if necessary, he was re-appointed up to 2023. On his 66th birthday celebration last year, Kabaka focused on the theme, “Youths should take lead in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Buganda,” Which is going to be the same theme even on his 67th birthday this year.
Some of the engagement objectives this year, is to orient the key kingdom gatekeepers on the current trends of HIV/AIDS and reproductive health; to orient the kingdom on how to utilize the various kingdom structures for creating awareness and mobilising communities in the kingdom to seek and utilise available health services and to identify opportunities within the cultural institutions that can be leveraged to improve health behavior.
Cultural institutions usually play important key roles in fighting and preventing HIV/AIDS among the youth in Uganda through breaking silence surrounding HIV/AIDS. The cultural institution also plays a large role in reducing discrimination and stigma.
In his remarks during the official launch of a series of events, Katikiro Mayiga advised the youth on how to protect themselves from being infected with HIV through abstaining from sex and using preventive measures that can help them such as wearing condoms.
“Most of the youths in high institutions of learning especially universities are unbothered about HIV/AIDS, instead they concentrate much on how to prevent pregnancy by taking pills, forgetting that these pills only prevent pregnancy but not AIDS/HIV,” Katikiro said.
The Buganda premiere advocated for faithfulness among partners, saying it’s a surreal way of controlling the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Meanwhile, Prof. David Sserwadda from the ministry of health, said, 90% of women in Uganda living with HIV/AIDS, are already on treatment and 75% of men living with HIV/AIDS are also already on treatment which is quite a lower number than women.
Dr. Fiona Kalinda the chairman of health in different counties requested all cultural leaders at different levels, to take the responsibility of mobilising and sensitising about the negative effects of teenage pregnancies among the youth.
Gender-based violence was pointed out, as one of the major causes of high spread of HIV/AIDS. Among other causes include, sexual abuse and lack of access to education, health services, social protection and information. The prevalence of HIV/AID among adults aged 15 to 64 in Uganda is reported at 6.2%; 7.6 among females and 4.7 among males.
This corresponds to approximately 1.2 million people aged 15 to 64 living with HIV in Uganda and HIV prevalence is higher among women living in urban areas (98%) than those in rural areas (6.7).