The AIDS Support Organization (TASO) Masindi Cluster is registering cases of clients who are reportedly abandoning antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) and resorting to herbals.
This was disclosed by Dr. Ronald Musisi, the Head of Department for Medical Services at TASO Masindi Cluster, during an interview with our reporter on Monday evening.
Without disclosing the number of cases registered, Dr. Musisi explained that some patients have gotten off medication due to misconceptions, and this comes as a result of their viral load suppressing and keeping on seeking other cures, such as prayers or herbals.
He narrates that at that time, you find when the patients are still on drugs and the virus has been suppressed, noting that when someone suppresses the HIV, results can turn negative, and after being prayerful, they might not be aware that the virus has been suppressed, but they go ahead and give testimonies that they have been cured of the virus, which is not true.
Dr. Musisi also told our reporter that a number of ways to bring back the clients on medication have been employed, like intensifying health talks with the people who are found positive and attaching them to peers and counselors for continuous counseling.
He also added that they continue doing health education and explain the possibility of their HIV status turning negative when they are positive.
According to the information obtained from TASO Masindi Cluster, 12,249 patients in the district are on medication for HIV.
Dr. Musisi also stressed stigma and discrimination as a major factor hindering their clients from picking up their drugs at the facility, disclosing that 88% of adolescent children are not taking their drugs constantly due to a lack of food since they are being taken care of by their grandmothers or grandfathers.
He also mentioned the truck drivers, sex workers, homosexuals and the adolescents as one of the age brackets of people at the risk of contracting the deadly virus.