Annan urged to give priority to fight against AIDS
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has requested UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to put the HIV/AIDS pandemic high on the agenda in the forthcoming UN General Assembly scheduled for June in New York, the state-owned New Vision daily reported onMonday.
Kihumuro Appuli, the director General of Uganda AIDS Commission(UAC), was quoted as saying that Museveni wanted the Group of Eight (G8) nations to give priority to the fight against the pandemic at the convention.
In a statement, Kihumuro said the recent AU summit in Abuja resolved to scale up the fight against tuberculosis, malaria and other related HIV/AIDS opportunistic diseases.
"We have taken it seriously to address the prevention and treatment programs on HIV/AIDS as a global concern because results do not show that we are succeeding," he said.
Kihumuro said the strategy that will give a final blow to HIV/AIDS is identifying an effective vaccine, adding that the struggle to get a vaccine was still under-funded.
He said Uganda needs 1.2 billion U.S. dollars to facilitate theHIV/AIDS vaccine discovery.
Currently, the country operates on a budget of 650 million dollars, which is 50 percent of the required funds.
Kihumuro said the HIV/AIDS new infections are hitting hard on Africa and regretted that 10 people get infected with HIV per minute.
He said the AIDS pandemic was spilling over to the children, adding that out of the 100,000 infections recorded last year, 30,000 were children.
Last week, UAC warned that the HIV/AIDS infection rate in Uganda has started going up noting that about 130,000 Ugandans were infected with the deadly virus in 2005 compared to the 70,000 in 2003.
"Ugandans should know that the issue of HIV/AIDS is still alarming in the country," Kihumuro warned.
HIV/AIDS has killed more than 25 million people since it was first recognized in 1981, making it one of the greatest public health and economic challenges to mankind.
According to the Ministry of Health, majority of those who are affected with the disease in Uganda are within the bracket of 15 to 40 years, which is where the majority of the labor force comes from. There is a greater burden of HIV disease among women compared to men.
Uganda is hailed internationally for bringing down its HIV prevalence rate from 18 percent in the early 1990s to 6.5 percent in 2005. Enditem