The fight against HIV/AIDS in the country is facing challenges from very ambiguous quarters, with The AIDS Support Organisation (TASO) accusing local pastors of misleading some of the HIV+ people into falsely believing that they are cured of the disease.
TASO, whose patron is Uganda’s First Lady Janet Kataha Museveni, is a national NGO that supports people living with HIV/AIDS through counseling and provision of ARVs among other services.
“There…an influx of false prophets across our centres that have misled our clients into believing that they are cured. This has contributed to poor adherence, said Enid Mbabazi Baryamwisaki, a member of the TASO Board of Trustees (BOT).
Patrick Byamugisha, another member on the BOT, said the pastors who flock their centres to mislead clients to stop taking ARVs.
The two TASO officials made the revelations during the 26th Annual General Meeting held yesterday in Kampala and urged government to put in place regulations to deal with such false prophets who claim to have healing powers for HIV/AIDS.
Ms. Baryamwisaki and Mr. Byamugisha also revealed that some adolescents have failed to suppress their viral load despite the timely provision of the ARVs to them. “In the last Expert Client Representative Planning meeting, members suggested that there should be a study conducted to find out best interventions for the issue,” they said.
Medical people define viral load as the amount of HIV per millilitre of blood. When not on treatment, viral load can range from undetectable to several millions, putting the life of a person in danger.
Further, the two called for special psychosocial support initiatives to address the issue.
Dr. Bernard Michael Etukoit, the TASO Executive Director, said the organisation’s dependence on donor funds is a big challenge that needs to be addressed. “TASO is donor funded with a donor dependency ratio of 95 percent. This therefore has impact on sustainability of programs implemented in case funding ceases,” Dr. Etukoit said adding that responding to emerging needs beyond the available funds is a problem.