The annual HIV Candlelight commemorative activities usually held in the Month of May will climax on May 17th 2020.
These are going to be carried out in a scientific way that takes into consideration the existing Presidential guidelines on social distancing.
It is against this background that this year’s candlelight activities are going to be carried out without assemblies of people due to COVID-19.
It is recommended that members of the public participate in this year’s memorial virtually by sharing actions on various media platforms including social media, radio, newspaper and TVs.
The COVID-19 pandemic dictates a change in approach from the traditional national commemoration characterized with mass mobilization that is crowned off by a huge public gathering in a selected district.
“I also therefore want to use this occasion to remind all leaders but especially Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) that in the application of the existing guidelines please ensure that People Living with HIV are supported to maintain their regular access to medication,” said Presidency minister Esther Mbayo.
This will also ensure that the country does not lose out on the HIV gains that achieved over the years.
Under the 90-90-90 challenge, 90 percent of people living with HIV are expected to know their status, 90% of those who know their status should have access to treatment and 90% of those on treatment should have their viral load suppressed, all of these by 2020.
Mbayo commended civil society partners who have been actively engaging with local government leaders to minimize disruption of access to HIV services and ensure adherences to antiretroviral therapy during this lockdown period.
“I encourage people living with HIV to utilize their networks within their communities to access the health units for refills of ARVs and there adhere so as the achieve the third ninety of ensuring that viral load is kept low at undetectable levels.”
Uganda AIDS Commission and partners including the Ministry of Information, Communication Technology & National Guidance; Ministry of health and the Inter-religious Council of Uganda will therefore use this commemoration season to firmly push out messages countrywide regarding prevention of COVID-19 as well as HIV prevention in addition to fighting stigma and discrimination.
This year, Government has engaged the religious leaders through the Inter Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU) to take lead in mobilizing communities towards our national goal of ending AIDS by 2030. The national theme for Candlelight this year is Ending AIDS: Faith Communities in Action.