Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Stop politicising HIV issues, Scott urges opposition
By Allan Mulenga
Sun 22 Sep. 2013, 14:01 CAT

VICE-PRESIDENT Guy Scott has urged the opposition to stop politicising issues to do with HIV and AIDS.

During the consultative meeting on prison conditions, policy and legal reform held at Chaminuka Lodge in Chisamba, Vice-President Scott said HIV and AIDS programmes should be non-party political programmes.

"We want the whole Parliament union, if you like, to have commitment towards this problem. Because otherwise people just use it as a way of bouncing politics off each other. No, you are supporting homosexual; if you start talking about condoms...or these people are dying because God wants them to die because they have committed crimes. Now you are to save their lives, people talk nonsense. This must be a non-party political programme," he said.

Vice-President Scott said there was for a clear policy on HIV and AIDS issues in prisons.

"Early testing has not been applied in prisons yet. Somebody comes in there you test him or her. If they are HIV positive, you start treatment you don't wait for them for CD4 count to come down. So, you stop them from being infective immediately and that way you have got very nice trial population," he said. "They can't run away or disappear without taking their medicines. We can see that the system works; and we can be putting healthy people out of prisons in the general population."

Vice-President Scott bemoaned the high number of inmats suffering from HIV in the country.

"The danger at the moment is that more than a quarter of the people in prison are HIV positive. When they get released what they are going to do? Are they going to sleep? Are they going to work eight hours a day in the office? No, they are going to spread HIV. We need to implement that and we need to get a clear policy on other health care," he said.
"TB Tuberculosis is very much there because of congested prisons which are more than 100 over capacity. Diarrhoea diseases maningi too much and so forth and all these needs to be treated because some of these people are only there for one year or two years. Some of them are youngsters, you want them to die in prison or to come out and give diseases to other people? You don't."

Vice-President Scott hailed the partnership between the government and stakeholders in the fight against HIV and AIDS in the country.

"I think it is very good this meeting is taking place, the Commissioner of Prisons is here, PEPFAR is here that's the American donors on ARVs, and I am proud to be able to open it," said Vice-President Scott.

And African Union special rapporteur for prisons and conditions for detention Med Kaggawa said there was no need to be in denial on matters relating to HIV and AIDS.

Kaggwa urged Africans to get over the problem of HIV and AIDS.

"Where I come from Uganda, entire families were wiped out. So when we talk about HIV and AIDS, we talk about it with passion. When you see child-headed families, when we see people whose villages were wiped out. So, it is a matter that one should not put his head or her head in the sand and think he will get over this problem. HIV and AIDS is a no joking matter," said Kaggwa.

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