President Museveni Breaks the Conspiracy of Complacency. 7/6/2017

Published by UNAIDS

In Uganda in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the President, Yoweri Museveni, showed the world, through pioneering high-level political leadership, that it was possible to reverse the AIDS epidemic, and for many years new HIV infections declined in Uganda. New HIV infections were reduced from 150 000 in 1990 to 66 000 in 1998—an incredible decline of 56%. However, by the early 2000s, the AIDS epidemic had begun to rebound, and by 2009 had climbed back up to 130 000 new HIV infections per year, a devastating blow to the country’s efforts to push the epidemic into permanent decline.

In the past few years, steps have been taken to once again reduce the epidemic, and in 2015 new HIV infections had dropped to 83 000. However, a disproportionate number of adolescent girls and young women between the ages of 15 and 24 are being affected and around 360 are becoming newly infected every week.

President Museveni is ready to reclaim his leadership role in the AIDS response, and on 6 June in Kampala, Uganda, at an event attended by the UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé, launched the Presidential Fast-Track Initiative on Ending AIDS as a Public Health Threat in Uganda by 2030. Dubbed “Kisanja hakuna mchezo” (no playing games), the initiative contains a five-point plan for more focused and urgent action to accelerate achieving control of the HIV epidemic in Uganda.

The plan will aim to revitalize HIV prevention, especially among adolescent girls and young women, and consolidate progress on elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. It will also accelerate implementation of HIV testing and treatment for men, particularly to ensure they reach the 90–90–90 targets, address financial sustainability for the AIDS response and ensure institutional effectiveness for a multisectoral response.

The First Lady of Zambia, Esther Lungu, attended the launch to reaffirm her commitment to the AIDS response and that of the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS.

During a meeting with the First Lady of Uganda, Janet Museveni, who is also the Minister for Education, Mr Sidibé congratulated her for her commitment to the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. As a result of her personal drive, Uganda has experienced a 90% decline (from 2009 to 2015) in the rate of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, the highest of the 21 priority countries of the Global Plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive.

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