Every 1st December, the National Association of Social Workers of Uganda (NASWU) joins the Rest of the World to commemorate the WORLD AIDS DAY. In Uganda there is an estimated 7.3 percent of people in Uganda aged 15 to 49 years old are living with HIV (2.5m) with many of them under medical and psycho social care from Hospitals, Clinic, Non-Government Organizations among others.
This year’s (2015) GLOBAL THEME is;
“Zero New HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS Related Death”
As NASWU we believe that we this can be achieved when we join hands to realize;
1. Zero New HIV Infections
Through using the ABC strategy where;
‘A’ stands for Abstinence from sex till marriage.
This is mainly advisable though not limited to children, teenagers and youths who are not yet married.
In an article published on www.aidsmap.com website entitled ‘Improved School attendance credited with reducing HIV infections among teenage girls in Uganda’ by Roger Pebody; it was reported that the “prevalence among girls aged 15 to 19 tends to be considerably higher than among boys of the same age.”
This therefore call for our joint efforts to cub down the prevalence rate most especially among young people (15-24 years old) who percentage is at 2.3% & 4.8% for male and female respectively (according to UNICEF – Eastern and Southern Africa http://www.unicef.org/esaro/5482_HIV_prevention.html)
‘B’ call for all individuals to Be faithful to their spouses.
Having multiple sex partners exposes one to get contracting the Virus. 2008 statics produced by Census government – Uganda showed an estimated percentage of adults living with HIV 7.2%, 98,797 new AIDS cases reported annually and 104,000 AIDS death.
As we commemorate this year’s World AIDS, its a call to us to be faithful to our spouses and one other to new infections.
Finally ‘C’ which encourages the proper use a condom.
Condoms are globally know as one of the family planning methods but they play a great role if used properly to stop new infection. Individuals chose to use this, should know that Condoms are not 100% safe.
2. Zero Discrimination
This calls for respect, acceptance and as Social Workers upholding also our 2015 year theme which is “Dignity and Worth of a person”. It makes no meaning to discriminate those who are HIV+ simply because your HIV- and yet we co-exist to support each other and give meaningful life through such relationship.
We have one God and besides that when we die, God wont ask us what did you died of to qualify or be disqualified to go to heaven.
3. Zero AIDS Related Deaths.
In a article published by UNICEF, a quote was made from report stating “that AIDS is responsible for 12% of annual deaths in Uganda and has surpassed malaria and other diseases as the leading cause of deaths among individuals 15-49 years of age. Approximately 26% or 43,000 babies are infected through mother to child transmission of HIV every year and two thirds of those do not live to see their second birthdays.”
As many of us know, HIV is a virus that weakens the body immune system while AIDS refers to the number of diseases and effects as a result of the presence of the HIV virus in the body.
These diseases are in most cases treated and some are curable or effects controlled.
This also were we thank Social Workers in the medical department commonly referred to as Clinical Social Workersfor their great contributions healing and recovery of these clients.
Please note that Uganda’s theme for the day is
“Re-engaging Communities for Effective HIV Prevention”
With a slogan of
“Accelerating community action towards Zero new infection.”
Meaning we all have a role to play.
In my opinion we need to remember the summary of the ten Commandments in two by Jesus;
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and strength.’
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
As NASWU we believe that Empowered Individuals Transform communities.