AIDS EPIDEMIC IN UGANDA
I was born in Uganda where I spent all my childhood and the better part of my adulthood, and in this country, AIDS has had a devastating impact on lot of families. Thinking back, each family has lost one or more individuals to AIDS including mine. I lost my grandmother at an early age of fifty-three years, three cousins and two friends. My husband, who is a Ugandan, has lost four family members and three friends due to AIDS.
The letters AIDS stand for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. When HIV infection becomes advanced it is often referred to as AIDS. It generally occurs when the CD4 count is below 220/ml. HIV is a retrovirus, which replicates its self in blood cells and in the process, kills the white blood cells, which are the body’s main defense against illness. This virus sometimes can remain in the human body for many years without causing any health problems but can also kill within the first six months if not treated. In the late 1980’s, when AIDS was first noticed, a lot of people contracted the HIV virus and by the early 1990’s the people who were infected started to develop AIDS and started dying. There was very little known about the disease during that time, Medication was very expensive and information on how to treat and prevent the disease was not easily available. This epidemic has set back development and reducing life expectancy.
Several factors contributed to the spread of AIDS mainly through sexual contact when body fluids are exchanged through semen or blood, blood transfusion, poverty, ignorance, lack of technology and corruption.
Poverty has played a big role in the spread of AIDS in Uganda. The country ‘s economy is very poor. Only about 10% of the population is doing well and this is mostly in the urban areas. To make ends meet both young and older girls have turned to prostitution. Even up to now...