Efforts are underway to move towards injectable treatment for HIV/AIDS, relieving HIV patients of the burden of taking drugs daily.
This was revealed by the Executive Director of the Infectious Disease Institute (IDI), Dr Andrew Kambugu during a press briefing on Wednesday, 19 April 2023.
Kambugu said researchers from IDI, Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC) are on course with the invention and that preliminary results are promising.
“Researchers from IDI, JCRC and other entities are doing work to see that we move to an injection every two months. The results are not yet out but they are promising; we would like you to know that there is work going on to make the lives of our friends easier,” said Kambugu.
He noted that injectable treatment had proved in the USA arguing that there is no reason why it should fail in Uganda.
“Initial work on injectable treatment in areas like the USA showed that it is as good as oral treatment. The studies that have been done in Uganda are to confirm that such treatment can work in our setting,” he said.
The press briefing was organized by the Committee on HIV/AIDS and Related Matters in preparation for the Parliament HIV/AIDS Advocacy Week slated for 25-27 April 2023.
The Committee Chairperson, Sarah Netalisire said her committee was responding to a presidential directive for all stakeholders to scale up the dissemination of HIV messages.
“The committee has organized this event to support the government’s efforts for a rejuvenated HIV/AIDs awareness campaign and advocacy using MPs, staff, press and the different stakeholders,” Netalisire said.
She observed that much of the donor and government funding goes to HIV treatment leaving a skeleton budget for prevention.
“We want to drum harder and inform Ugandans that when you live positively and adhere to treatment, you will live longer and reduce the 326 people who die weekly due to HIV-related cases,” Netalisire said.
She highlighted the statistical progress made in the fight to end HIV/AIDS by 2030, noting the 37 per cent decline in annual AIDS-related deaths as cited in the Ministry of Health Report of 2021.
The Head of HIV Prevention at Uganda AIDS Commission, Dr. Daniel Byamukama called on Parliament to consider reviewing policies and laws that are a deterrent to the HIV/AIDS fight.
He cited policies that criminalize HIIV transmission and people who inject drugs as those that need review.
“If you criminalize HIV/AIDS transmission, it is tricky. It is not easy to prove; there is a worry that one would rather not bother to know their HIV status for fear of being indicted,” said Byamukama.
Dr. Stephen Watiti representing Persons Living with HIV Network asked Parliament to use the advocacy week and give hope to those who are not yet on treatment due to the shame associated with the disease.
“I appeal to MPs during this time to put out messages of hope to people living with HIV/AIDS. The stigma associated with this disease makes them feel ashamed to even seek treatment; we would love to see this bottleneck removed,” Watiti said.