By: Simon Wokorach:
Gulu-Uganda: Adherence to treatment among HIV/AIDS patients is still low in Gulu according to report from The Aids Supports Organisation (TASO) Gulu Treatment Centre.
HIV treatment adherence means starting treatment, keeping all medical appointments, taking HIV medicine every day and exactly as prescribed. Medics say it is key to staying healthy.
However at TASO Gulu Centre, officials they have discovered that the level of adherence to treatment is too low among the patients especially men.
Michael Ochwoo, the Centre Manager says that the low treatment adherence has led to a rise in death toll among the patients.
Ochwoo disclosed that their annual statistics for the year starting December 2018 to July 2019 indicate that 54 HIV patients died of the virus a factor largely blamed on low adherence to drugs and medical prescription.
Of the deceased 30 were men and 24 women aged between 24 to 70 years. He says this is far higher than the previous years in which deaths cases ranged between 10 and 15 annually.
The Centre Manager explained that other factors related to the death are alcoholism especially among men, poor and late health seeking behaviour and poverty resulting to poor feeding.
Flora Aling, the Chairperson Governing Council TASO Gulu who expressed dismay with death figures says skipping prescribed HIV treatment reduces CD4 counts and in turn the HIV virus multiplies.
She advised that people living with the disease should seek early health care whenever they feel sickly and also adhere to treatment.
An HIV positive person needs visit to their health care provider to monitor their HIV regimen and keep the virus under control.
At TASO Gulu, about 2000 Expert Client volunteers positive with HIV help to monitor the patients from their homes.
One of them said on condition of anonymity that most HIV positive men do not adhere to treatment compared to women due to alcohol influence.
TASO Gulu Centre has 8727 people enrolled for treatment with an average 660 new cases. The Centre constitutes of Acholi Sub Region.
A 2018 report by Gulu District Health Department indicate that 26,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS standing at 8.4% prevalence.