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National HIV & AIDS Symposium to Honor, and Celebrate Legendary Artiste Philly Bongole Lutaaya

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Legendary Artiste Philly Bongole Lutaaya will be celebrated in the National HIV and AIDS Symposium that will be held at Makerere University Business School between November 8 and 10, ahead of the International AIDS Day Celebrations.

Joanita Kawalya a legendary Artiste told reporters at the Uganda Media Centre that Lutaaya will be honored for his outstanding contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS.

“He did a great job, his contribution has saved very many people,” she said 

The Symposium will be held under the theme: Ending Inequalities among adolescent girls, young women, and boys.

The National HIV and AIDS symposium this year will feature a series of activities namely: The Annual Joint AIDS Review, Scientific Conference, Philly Lutaaya Lecture, Partnership Forum, HIV Financing Dialogue, and Exhibitions. Uganda AIDS Commission has partnered with Vision Group to execute this Symposium. 

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Speaking at the National HIV and AIDS Symposium launch presser, the Director General, of UAC said that one of their core mandates as is to coordinate the Multi-Sectoral HIV Response in the Country. 

“For this, we needed to bring together different stakeholders in a Symposium to evaluate our performance as a country and develop priorities for the next year in line with the National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan,” he said 

“We have made progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS as a Country,” he added.

The latest data shows a reduction in HIV prevalence from 18% in the ’80s to 5.5%. There has been a reduction in AIDS related deaths from 22,000 in 2020 to 17,000 deaths in 2021. Stigma and Discrimination have also reduced greatly however there is still work to be done. 

According to the People living with HIV stigma index study done in 2019, 36.4% reported that it was difficult to disclose HIV status to other people. 32% revealed that they hid their HIV status from others. 68.8% of women living with HIV had disclosed to their children than to other family members. The most persistent form of stigma was awareness of family and the non-family member who made discriminatory remarks and gossiped about the PLHIV at 34%. 

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Additionally, there is an increasing number of new HIV Infections among young people specifically Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW)

“Last year, 54,000 people got infected with HIV, of these 15,000 were adolescent girls and young women (15-24) and 5000 infections were from their male counterparts of the same age group. The root cause of most of these infections is inequalities at different levels. That is why the theme for this year’s Symposium is 

very timely” said Jotham Mubangizi, the UNAIDS Uganda Strategic Information Advisor.

“We have taken this activity from the boardroom to the open spaces where we can have more implementers participating not only as presenters but also as exhibitors. In addition, we have 

opened the space for communities to participate especially young people by setting up a Philly Lutaaya corner that will be dedicated to the dissemination of HIV prevention messages through 

music and art” said Dr. Musoba

The media has played and still plays a critical role in disseminating information which is key in HIV prevention. This information helps people make informed decisions and facilitates behavior 

change. 

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“As Vision Group, we are happy to partner with Uganda AIDS Commission to ensure we contribute to the goal of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 by disseminating accurate information about HIV prevention through our different platforms,” said Don Wanyama CEO of Vision Group

Speaking on behalf of the parliamentary committee on HIV and related matters, the Chairperson of the committee Hon. Sarah Kayagi Netalisire promised that parliament will continue advocating for more domestic resource allocation to fight HIV and AIDS. “As a parliament, we shall continue.

not only advocate for increased funding for the response but provide the necessary leadership needed to ensure that Uganda meets the target of ending AIDS by 2030.” She concluded

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