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
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.
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
“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
“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.