- Survivors of violence have a trait of risky sexual behaviour.
- People living with HIV/AIDS are stigmatised because of the ARVs they take
Mental health experts note that people who are exposed to different forms of violence stand high chances of getting HIV /AIDS because of risky sexual behaviour.
According to Egan Patrick Tabaro, Psycotherapist, survivors of violence have a trait of risky sexual behaviour which exposes them to a high risk of catching HIV/AIDS.
This has been noted among Sexual and gender-based violence survivors in Uganda and across the world.
“From my work experience we have seen that survivors of violence be it war, sexual or gender based violence tend to leave a recklace sexual life which in turn exposes them.
This trend now calls for the need to address the issue of psychological trauma of survivors as a way of reducing their chances of catching the disease, this we can incooperate as part of our strategy to end the numbers of people getting the virus.
As the country commemorates the International World Aids day today 1st December 2021, as a nation we should address Mental Health and psychosocial wellbeing of survivors of violence as a way or strategy to reduce the prevalence or numbers of people coming from HIV. This needs concerted efforts from all stakeholders.
On a brighter note we appreciate that the numbers of people living with HIV being stigmatised has greatly reduced though a lot still needs to be done.
The stigmatisation rates today cannot be compared to the 80s and 90s however we are not yet at that happy place where those living positive are fully appreciated and embraced by society, we still see reports of patients being stigmatised as shared in the media.
People living with HIV AIDS are stigmatised because of the ARVs they take, they are segregated in schools and communities and this in turn leads to poor self-esteem because of lack of confidence which has pushed many into distress and depression.
We need to strengthen the aspect of providing mental health psychosocial support for those living positive to address these various challenges
They need to be supported with psychosocial tools to enable them cope better and also continue with their positive living as well as to heal from their traumas, depression and distress that they are subjected to because of their status.
Now because of the COVID19 restrictions, the celebrations will be virtually held at State House Entebbe under the theme End stigma, End Aids, End pandemics with His Excellency President Yoweri Museveni as the chief guest.
According to Statistics from the Uganda Aids Commission as of 2020 1,400,000 Ugandans are living with the virus, of these 480,000 are men, 820 are women while 98000 are children.