The high costs of foodstuffs and other commodities have hit hard the people who are living with HIV/AIDS virus in Luweero.TheHIV/AIDS patients that need special nutrition to supplement the Anti Retroviral dugs are now surviving on one meal which has escalated their status.
The high costs of foodstuffs and other commodities have hit hard the people living with HIV/AIDS in Luwero district.
The patients that need special nutrition to supplement the antiretroviral dugs are now surviving on one meal a day, which has weakened their bodies.
In Luwero, prices of foodstuffs that include maize flour, beans, bananas, groundnuts, soybeans among others have shoot up. A kilogram of maize flour costs 2500 shillings from 1000 shillings early this year, beans costs 2000 from 1200 shilling per kilogram, while soybeans cost 3500 shillings a kilo. Fish in most markets goes for 4000 shillings.
The chairman of people living with HIV/AIDS in Luweero, Mulinde Kagumba says that the HIV/AIDS patients’ status has worsened due to lack of enough essential foodstuffs as a result of high costs of living.
Mulinde, who tested positive in 1987 and started ARVs in 2005, explains that early this year he could feed on matooke, soybeans, posho, greens, various fish types, among others in a week but now a month goes by with just two types of food. He explains that as result the body has weakened because he can’t balance his diet as desired.
Another HIV/AIDS patient, Jamidah Nabakiibi, a resident of Kiwogozzi village in Luwero town council says she dropped taking tea at home because of little resources, and sometimes she survives on posho for a number of days due to high costs of other foods.
Nabakiibi, who has spent 7 years on ARVs, adds that despite such hardships she has to work hard in her garden to earn a living and to look after the four people at her home which has also made her weak.
Mariam Kyazze, another HIV patient says she used to drink milk every day, an egg and greens as her breakfast but all that has been forgotten due to high costs of buying the items with her meager income.
Kyazze adds that due to stress and lack of enough food, she abandons work and to go back home and rest.
Patients are demanding that government facilitates them with handouts in these hard times to enable them survive for another day. All health centers in Luweero dropped handouts to HIV/AIDS patients due to costs of maintaining the project.
Ismail Nyanzi, an HIV/AIDS Counselor at Bishop Caesar Asili Health center, says that balanced diet helps in making the immune system strong to fight the virus or related illnesses, body building, and protecting the body among others.
Nyanzi says that some patients have been examined and found that their CD 4 counts have dropped significantly due to poor nutrition.
Nyanzi adds that taking ARVs on an empty stomach is dangerous and can lead to reverse effects from the drugs and worsening of the HIV/AIDS status.
//CUE; first and foremost...’’
Cue out…the side effects is not there’’//
Nyanzi predicts that if the patients fail to win the battle against poor nutrition, ARVs will be irrelevant and patients will die fast.
According to African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF), Luwero HIV Prevalence rate currently stands at 12 %, higher than the 7.1 % national prevalence rate.
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