More than 60 people enrolled on the life prolonging Anti-Retroviral Treatment-ART at Biiso health centre III in Buliisa district have abandoned treatment and disappeared without trace. They are part of over 500 people enrolled on ART at Biiso health centre III since June last year.
David Lukumu, the in-charge Biiso health centre III, says most of their clients abandoned treatment because of transport problems resulting from the Covid19 lockdown. He says their efforts to make home deliveries to patients hit a snag because of financial constraint.
Lukumu is worried that some of their clients could be suffering silently in the village without treatment while others could be involved in risky sexual behaviour, which could fuel infections.
Alex Rukundo, one of the People Living with HIV, says he has failed to pick his drug refills because of transport problems.
Grace Akello, who is also living with HIV, says she was forced to stop taking ARVs three weeks ago because she couldn’t afford transport and also, feed herself and family.
According to Akello, she can’t afford to take the drugs on an empty stomach. Uthman Kabego says people Living HIV like him are experiencing a lot of difficulties more especially transport to health facilities because they are financially constrained.
This isn’t the first group of people living with HIV in Hoima to skip treatment. In February, more than 600 people enrolled at Buseruka health centre III abandoned treatment. They were part of over 1000 people enrolled on ART at the facility from August last year.
In 2018, another 250 people enrolled on ART at Kigorobya health Center IV in Hoima district disappeared without a trace. Antiretroviral drugs are considered highly effective in controlling HIV replication since they significantly reduce the viral load.
Their use has modified the natural history of HIV as well as significantly reduced the associated morbidity and mortality. However, experts warn that skipping or abandoning treatment affects the reduction of the viral load and eventually the immune system.
The News Editor ,Reporter at Kagadi Kibaale community Radio