Uganda health authorities took several steps to fight back HIV/AIDS, such as deploying roadside billboards advocating testing for kids and protected sex and highlighting the significance of taking ARVs (medicines that prevent the progression of the deadly virus). Now, those efforts have started producing positive results.
Though HIV is still present across Uganda, yet the situation has significantly improved over the last twenty-five years. When HIV/AIDS hit its peak in Uganda in the early 1990s, nearly 14 per cent of the country’s population was infected with the deadly virus.
Various efforts by the government, NGOs like the Aids Support Organisation (Taso), gradually dragged the rate down to 8 per cent by 2000. In 2015, the rate slipped further down to 7.1 per cent.
Dr. Michael Etukoit, executive director of Taso, said, “A few years before the advent of ARVs, having HIV was actually a death sentence. People had given up. There were many people at that time who had even distributed their own property, their own wealth, land and even houses knowing they were going to die.”
Taso promoted abstinence, monogamy and use of condoms. It also made brightly wrapped condoms available at intervals between fruit and vegetable vendors’ stalls.