Uganda: Financial Support Lures Karamoja Women To Disclose HIV Status

By Steven Ariong

Free financial support by UN Women to women living with HIV/Aids in Karamoja sub-region has instilled confidence among the females to openly disclose their HIV status.

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Previously, women living with HIV could not risk disclosing their status for fear of being stigmatised.

UN Women is currently offering financial assistance to groups of women living with the deadly virus.

Ms Margret Ajilong, the coordinator of people living with HIV in Kaabong District, said many women due to the desire to benefit from the project, have started disclosing their status.

Ms Ajilong revealed that many of the clients now take their antiviral drugs openly unlike before where they would hide.

She noted that many women have been empowered to become self reliant as some have ventured into cereal baking and other petty business.

“I am very grateful for UN Women support because it has changed the lives of women living with HIV, especially in Kaabong. The women are making money in their groups,” she said.

Ms Betty Nacho, one of the clients, said she had desisted from revealing her status because she was scared that no one would help her financially.

“I am now very proud. Our group received Shs5million from UN Women. We have progressed and other women living with the disease are joining the group,” Ms Nacho said.

Mr Martine Oryem, the UN Women programme officer for the Moroto field office, said UN women has so far given out Shs140 million to 25 groups of women living with HIV.

According to Mr Oryem, there are 260 beneficiaries in Moroto and Kaabong districts.

Mr Andrew Napaja Keem, the Moroto District chairperson, hailed UN Women for the support and called upon other development partners to support people living with HIV.

He also warned the public against stigmatising people living.

The HIV/Aids prevalence in the semi-arid Karamoja region has shot up, creating panic among the leadership and the development partners working in the sub-region.

The leaders are blaming the current peace and business that the sub-region is experiencing as the cause of the high spread of virus which is currently at 3.5 per cent.

Mr Vincent Muron, a health official in Moroto District, said HIV is likely to go up above the national HIV/Aids prevalence rate which is at 7.3 per cent due to poor attitude by the Karimojong community towards condoms use and abstinence.

Funds released

Mr Martine Oryem, the UN Women programme officer for the Moroto field office, said UN women has so far given out Shs140 million to 25 groups of women living with HIV. According to Mr Oryem, there are 260 beneficiaries in Moroto and Kaabong districts.

Source: allafrica.com

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