HIV/Aids

09 July 2010

Protest over lack of ARVs in Uganda

Hundreds of Ugandan women afflicted with Aids staged a protest on the streets of the capital Kampala in protest against the current shortage of drugs for Aids patients.

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Hundreds of Ugandan women afflicted with Aids staged a protest on the streets of the capital Kampala in protest against the current shortage of drugs for Aids patients.

The women, grouped under the National Community of Women Living with HIV/Aids (NACWOLA), waved placards in a peaceful demonstration and then handed a petition to the Speaker of the Ugandan parliament in which they urged government to urgently provide the Aids drugs or anti-retroviral doses (ARVs).

"We are demonstrating to show the world the commitment of women to the fight against AIDS," NACWOLA executive director Agnes Apea told the German Press Agency dpa.

'People are dying'

"We are asking the governmnt to increase the investiment in HIV-preventive measures. We want the drugs to reach the hospitals because people are dying," she added.

Reached for a comment, a spokesman for the government-run Uganda Aids Commission, James Kigozi, admitted that there were inadequate supplies of Aids drugs in the country and that health centres were turning patients away.   

"These women who are demonstrating have a cause. Most of the distribution points for ARVs around the country are no longer taking on new patients. The hospitals are turning them away because of the shortage of drugs," he said by telephone.

ARVs only reach 50% of people

Health officials say that the East African state, with well over a million people with the HIV virus which causes Aids, has around 400,000 people who qualify for the ARVs. But only about half of the number currently are receiving the medication.

Health officials say that some 130,000 people contracting HIV are registered in Uganda every year.- (Henry Wasswa/Sapa/DPA, July 2010)

 

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HIV/Aids Centre

 

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Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria in 2005. She is a patients' rights activist and loves using social media to teach about HIV. She is in private practice in Johannesburg.

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