KOTIDO – People living with HIV/Aids in Kotido District in Karamoja sub-region recently appealed to the government to avail the district with CD4 machines to enable them test and measure their viral load.
The group made the appeal last week during an interaction with PML Daily in Kotido health centre IV
The CD4 count is a test that measures how many CD4 cells a person have in the blood. These are a type of white blood cell, called T-cells.
Mr. Dolo Owiny one of the persons living with HIV/Aids and a resident of Lokitelaebu in Kotido Municipality said lack of CD4 machine in the district was making it hard for people living with HIV/Aids to measure and get to know the viral load in their blood.
He said they always travel 110 kilometers from Kotido to Matany hospital in Napak district to test and measure how many cells they have in their blood.
“We are facing a lot of challenges as people living with HIV/Aids in Kotido we move several kilometers to access services yet it would be so near if all the services are within Kotido,”he said.
Simon Peter Lopuro another person living with the disease said most cases they result get mixed up and lost due to over traveling to test for their viral load in other various hospitals.
Christine Achan another mother living with HIV/Aids appeal government to show their seriousness towards people living with HIV/Aids.
According to Ms Achan government has less attention to people living with HIV/Aids in terms of development projects.
“Government should appreciate us since we have openly come up to disclose our status because we didn’t want to keep quiet and continue infecting others,” She said.
Ms. Achan also asked the government to support child-headed families lost their parents to HIV/Aids.
“Support like household items and other things that will not make these children to be traumatized,” he said.
The efforts to get a comment from the senior public officer in the ministry of health Mr.Emmanule Ainebyona were futile as his well-known phone was off.
However, the Minister for Karamoja affairs Mr. John Byabagambi, when contacted by PML daily on Sunday 22 of September, hailed the people living with the HIV/Aids and assured them of government support.
He promised to avail the district with CD4 count machine within two weeks adding that every district hospital must have CD4 count machine.
Mr. Byabagambi warned youth in the region to stop reckless sex and appealed those living with the disease to remain faithful to each other.
“I have a big challenge as a minister for Karamoja affairs with my youth who don’t want to use condoms but they are very active please if you don’t want to use condom abstain,” he said.
Early last year a section of the youth in the region complained that the condoms distributed to them were very short and appealed the government to manfucture special condoms for Karamoja which are large and long to fit the youth.
John Korobe one of the youth said most of the condoms government supplies to Karamoja are very short and not firing the manhood of the youth.
The current prevalence of HIV/Aids in Karamoja region has gone up to 5.3% from 3.5 percent in 2006.
Dr. John Anguzu the district health director Nakapiripirit said the level of stigmatization in Karamoja against those who have openly declared their status was affecting the fight against the disease which is hitting the region bodily.