By Baluku Matayo
John, 58 years walks into a drug shop and asks for a condom, to be specific, Rough Rider®. What would you think about him?
The Uganda National Policy for Older Persons defines an older person as one aged 60 years and above. Little is known about their Knowledge, attitudes and Practices towards HIV prevention, care and support. The recent Uganda AIDS indicator survey (2011) and others before it never included collecting data on this category of people. Even when it collected for those aged 50-59, the analysis and much of the reporting excluded them. POSSIBLE REASON: THEY’RE NOT A NATIONAL PRIORITY.
Worldwide, over 3.6 million people aged 50 years and above are living with HIV; 9% of whom live in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Uganda, some older persons are still sexually active. They are less likely to have comprehensive knowledge on HIV prevention; and less likely to have good access to HIV prevention services. They are more likely to be stigmatized. They care for 63% of the orphans and vulnerable children, some of whom are HIV infected. They are faced with many other problems such as poverty, ill health, food insecurity, mal nutrition, poor shelter, gender inequalities and abuse. The HIV and AIDS programs do not target them.
What HIV prevention services and messages do you think would be appropriate for our senior citizens in Uganda?