HIV/AIDS campaigners in Uganda want improvement in the coordination of anti-HIV/AIDS messages in order to avoid confusing the public on the efficacy of the different prevention strategies.
This was during a two-day joint annual review of the national HIV/AIDS strategic plan by the Uganda AIDS Commission at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala.
The meeting which attracted donor representatives and stakeholders involved in the national response to HIV/AIDS, reviewed efforts made so far in addressing the epidemic in line with the HIV/AIDS strategic plan.
Musa Bungudu, the UNAIDS country coordinator in Uganda, said: "Today they say circumcision is useful and then it is not. Then condoms are useful, and then then they are not. We need to consolidate the messages in forms that leaders can help to deliver."
Prof. Vinand Nantulya, the Uganda AIDS Commission chairperson, said divergent messages tend to be contradictory and the public may not know what action to take.
He said in the early days of the AIDS outbreak, messages were non-contradictory and action-oriented.
"They were communicated directly to the people who were told what needed to be done," he noted.
"Parents and leaders were involved and political leaders as well as the professionals spoke with one voice," Nantulya added.
Bungudu said the rising HIV infections in Uganda, presently at 530,000 new infections every year, are too high for the population of 34 million Ugandans.
"Ugandans are dying from this disease but they think that they are dying of witchcraft. That is avoidance of the reality," he added.
Uganda is presently implementing the combination prevention that involves programmes that encourage behaviour change, as well as socio-cultural interventions and other scientifically proven methods like safe male circumcision.
Prof. Nantulya said Uganda has chosen behaviour change as the centrepiece of the national intervention because this strategy has over the years been effective and should be implemented alongside the scientifically proven HIV prevention strategies such as circumcision.
The minister of ethics and integrity, Rev. Fr. Simon Lokodo, said the Government has this financial year provided $65m towards the HIV/AIDS response.