Adolescents and young adults pose the biggest challenge to viral load suppression in the fight to end HIV/AIDS by 2030 in Uganda, Dr. Ronald Opito, center programs manager at The AIDS Support Organisation (TASO) Soroti has said.
Dr. Opito voiced the concern during an event held to welcome home the reigning Miss Youth Positive Uganda 2021- 2022 recently.
He said that many young people are still facing stigma in accessing HIV/AIDS antiretroviral therapy which has forced some to abandon the treatment completely.
This, he said, is a threat to viral load suppression which in turn leads to more HIV new infections.
Opito tasked parents, Peer leaders and all stakeholders to sensitize the adolescents on sexual reproductive health issues.
He tasked the reigning Miss Young positive (Y+) to use her position to advocate for the young people’s agenda in the fight to end HIV/AIDS.
“For those who are already positive, they should protect themselves from STI’s and unwanted pregnancies and those girls who are still negative, we should tell them that HIV/AIDS is real and it’s affecting more young girls than boys,” Opito said.
Adding: “As young as 15 years, you find that someone is positive and this is due to some petty things which unfortunately sometimes our parents tend to ignore for example a girl may need pads and the parents fail to provide… here, some boda boda guy will offer a pack in exchange for sex,” he said.
Rubunah Nayiga, Young person living with HIV/AIDS and also the reigning Miss Y+ Uganda, said that the 2030 target of ending HIV/AIDS is what she is going to embark on as a peer leader by engaging in sensitization with communities.
“Most people do not have the information, they do not know that there are preventative measures and as a peer leader, this is something I need to interest myself in to ensure that most young people get to know about this and they go out seeking these services,” she said.
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