Members of the Uganda Urban Council Leaders’ Forum have suggested that HIV testing should be compulsory for men, as a new approach to reduce the spread of the virus in the country.
The urban council leaders under the umbrella Alliance of Mayors and Municipal Leaders on HIV/AIDs in Africa (AMICAAL)-Uganda chapter made the suggestion in Masaka district on Wednesday, during a meeting convened to take stock of the progress in campaigns against HIV. They identified the low participation of men in key campaign interventions as a major obstacle in the drive to end new HIV infections by 2030.
Mubende municipality Mayor Engineer Innocent Ssekiziyivu says that although there is a high level of public awareness on the available HIV prevention interventions, majority of the people embracing the services are largely women and their children.
Ssekiziyivu suggests that the HIV testing and treatment policy should be reinforced with a law that compels husbands to accompany their expectant wives to health facilities where they are tested as a couple.
Ssekiziyivu also proposes a review of penalties against persons who infect others with HIV to ensure that the sentences are highly punitive to discourage would-be offenders.
Mityana Central Division Chairperson Fred Wotonava acknowledges the poor participation of men in HIV campaigns and suggests that men should be supported with special packages that can entice them to comfortably seek the services.
But Florence Namboozo, the chairperson of parliamentary committee on HIV/AIDs has underrated the proposal for a compelling law on testing. She instead asked the men to fully take up their responsibilities including fully supporting their spouses.
Doctor Nelson Musoba, the Director General of the Uganda AIDS Commission has also discouraged the proposal explaining that it is against the internationally acceptable standards of managing HIV. He however adds that they have agreed with all the implementing partners to take the services too close to men and to become more flexible such that they can attract them.