Uganda has emerged number one in the world in adherence to taking anti-retroviral therapy (ARV), a drug combination that prolongs the life of HIV/AIDS patients, local media reported Sunday.
Peter Reis, the vice president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in the United States, praised the efforts made by the AIDS patients to fight the virus at a function held at Uganda Cares hospital in the western district of Masaka last week.
"Uganda took the lead to declare that the AIDS monster had invaded the country. Today, I have to announce that Uganda was on top of the world in ARV adherence," he said while addressing over 500 HIV positive people who came to the hospital to collect their drugs.
Claiming that Uganda's drug adherence was better than that of other patients in Europe and the United States, he also urged the HIV positive patients to convince their friends to come out for voluntary testing, adding that his organization would provide them with drugs if they were infected.
Bernard Okongo, AIDS Health Foundation Africa Bureau Chief and Uganda Cares Country Director, advised people who are taking ARV's to practice safe sex, warning re-infection would render the first line of treatment ineffective.
On the necessity of scaling up the number of people on ARVs, he said that about 144,000 Ugandans need urgent access to ARVs and yet only 63,896 were receiving the drugs. The government has since 2004 provided ARV.
Over two million Ugandans have contracted HIV virus and about 900,000 have died of it since 1984 when it was identified in the east African country.