The Minister of State for Disability Affairs, Asamo Hellen Grace, has called for more efforts towards ending HIV/AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 especially among vulnerable groups such as Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
According to a 2023 study by Mbarara University of Science and Technology on health system responsiveness among persons living with HIV and disability, it was concluded that inequitable access to HIV and AIDS treatment, for People with Disabilities, is a hurdle to ending the epidemic by 2030.
The study observed that all the HIV health workers interviewed expressed frustration with lack of communication skills in attending to patients who could not talk or hear.
Speaking at the launch of the translated version of the national policy guidelines in Kampala on ending HIV stigma and discrimination for persons with visual and hearing disabilities, the Minister said majority of the HIV and AIDS care facilities have no braille or sign language services to help communicate with clinicians who do not know a particular local language.
“If Persons without disabilities living with HIV face stigma and discrimination; then what happens to Persons with Disabilities when they also acquire HIV?” she wondered.
“I call upon all stakeholders to ensure we implement these translated versions to reach all communities of Persons with visual and hearing impairments in Uganda,” she added.
HIV prevalence in Uganda significantly reduced from 18% in the early ’80s to 5.2% while AIDS-related deaths have equally reduced from 54,000 in 2010 to 17,000.