Every 1st December, all nations come together to commemorate World AIDS Day, showing support to People living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, remember those who have died of AIDS related illnesses and increase awareness about HIV. This year, the international theme is #Equalize, a call to action to us all to work together to AIDS by addressing inequalities in HIV care and treatment. It is believed that if each of us worked hard to increase the availability and suitability of HIV services: prevention,
testing and treatment, we can achieve the 3rd United Nations Sustainable Development Goal to end HIV/AIDS by 2020.
At Reach Out Mbuya Community Health Initiative, the day’s theme was, ‘Communities Taking lead in Ending HIV/AIDS’. Clad in their white T-shirts- ROM’s corporate wear and a red ribbon, all staff, partners, beneficiaries and members of the community, led by ROM’s brass band, marched a five-kilometer distance to increase HIV/AIDS awareness among members of the community and show solidarity with those living with HIV.
The Mayor of Nakawa East, Mr. Paul Mugambe who was the Chief walker thanked Reach Out Mbuya for organizing such an important event that brought together people of all walks of life to reflect on how best we can fight HIV. ‘We need to take precautions and remind ourselves that HIV is still here. And if you have the virus today, it is no longer a death sentence. You can leave forever, as long as you adhere to your medicine.” He told the participants.
A memorial mass was held at Our Lady of Africa Catholic Church Mbuya in honor of those we have lost to HIV/AIDS. Here, Rev Father Nicholas Onyait cautioned the young people on abstaining as a measure of keeping themselves safe from getting infected with HIV before
marriage; where they are called to be faithful to their partners. He employed the analogy of testing all other edibles like simsim and not the chapati during their school days, as this, just like life, it cannot be bought by the final consumer if it is not in whole as a result of tearing off parts of it for those who want to test before buying.
The Executive Director of ROM Ms. Josephine Kaleebi thanked the mayor for accepting to match with us to increase awareness about HIV. She also appreciated the staff, church and members of the community for joining in the walk as one of the ways to remind people of their responsibility in the fight against HIV.
HIV services such as testing and counselling were also provided to the beneficiaries, who also later received donations.