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Gulu District Fails to Enrol Back 9,000 People On ARV Treatment

Michael Ochwoo, the Manager of TASO Gulu Care Centre, says that many of the people living with HIV lack food to keep them on treatment. He says that while the Centre managed to enrol back 200 people who abandoned ARVs, 35 of them died due to adherence issues.
Section of Gulu Regional Referral Hospital-Photo By Simon Wokorach
Gulu District health department has failed to enrol back 9,000 people living with HIV on the life-prolonging Anti-Retroviral therapy after abandoning treatment during the nationwide lockdown because of the COVID 19 pandemic. Statistics from the health department show that only 18,000 out of the 27,000 people who tested positive for HIV in the District are still on treatment. 


The statistics also, show that HIV infections in the district increased from 8.4% in 2019 to 14% in 2020 during the lockdown. William Onyai, the Gulu District Health Educator, says the District has yet failed to establish the reasons why a huge number of people living with HIV abandoned their treatment. Michael Ochwoo, the Manager of TASO Gulu Care Centre, says that many of the people living with HIV lack food to keep them on treatment.

He says that while the Centre managed to enrol back 200 people who abandoned ARVs, 35 of them died due to adherence issues. Gloria Anena, one of the people living with HIV in Gulu City, says that most of the people who abandoned drugs have not disclosed their status. Anena revealed that she also abandoned drugs for nine months when her status was disclosed at school, which forced her to drop out in senior three. 

“I got back to care in a critical condition and realized that I can’t do without drugs, which is my life. I am happy that am back to school,” Anena told Uganda Radio Network in an interview. Gladys Aol, a 3rd-year student of Public Administration at Gulu University, who is also the Miss Young People Living with HIV in the country, says that she took a long time to accept her condition. 

“I didn’t know my parents were living with HIV. They could give me drugs to swallow when no one was seeing,” Aol said. She says that she decided to disclose her status and started talking to young living with HIV to adhere to treatment when her parents opened up.

“We can’t keep hiding; we need to talk about ourselves, before others become suspicious and in that way, we will remain on drugs and fight the virus,” Aol added. 

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