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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The AIDS Support Organization

After a journey through the pouring rain and floods, we eventually made it to TASO in Mulago, Uganda. TASO is an organization of workers that provide care, support and treatment to HIV/AIDS patients. They have been open for 25 years and are 100% funded by NGOs. Most of their patients come in on appointment, but often times they still wait for hours to get a chance to see the staff which is only made up of 30 people (only 3 of which are medical officers). All that is needed to receive treatment is proof of your HIV status.

As the speakers told us, many of the citizens of Uganda do not get tested for HIV because of the stigma that comes with it. Most wait until they get extremely ill to seek treatment. Another issue comes when people see those infected with HIV living healthy lives because of treatment, therefore they do not take the complications of HIV/AIDS seriously.

What information most surprised you during the lecture? Were you surprised to find out that married couples in Uganda are at a higher risk of becoming infected?


  1. I think the information that surprised me the most was how common HIV/AIDS is in Uganda. Before I came to Uganda I was expecting the number of people infected with HIV/AIDS to be high but I was not expecting it to be that high. When they told us that TASO has over 150,000 clients in Uganda I was a little shocked. I was shcoked at all of the care they must provide to people in Uganda. But I was also shocked at how some people do not come forward with the disease. The TASO people takled about how many people do not even know they have HIV/AIDS or know and do not say anything about it. When they told us that married couples were at a higher risk of becoming infected I was surprised. I thought they would be the safest because of monogomy, however apparently being unfaithful is a huge problem.

  2. I was also shocked by the fact married couples in Uganda are at a higher risk to get HIV/AIDS. It will definitely take some work to fully educate the population that marriage doesn't mean you are immune from the disease.

    I was also surpised by the number of people with AIDS in Uganda, and I think it's important to know that the figure of 1.2 million people is just a documented number. The actual number could be much higher.

    I was very encouraged, however, to hear that TASO has never run out of medication for its patients, thanks to good funding from the United States. When George Bush renewed the five-year deal to support AIDS funding in Africa, it may not have seemed like a big deal in the states, but it was a life-altering decision for thousands of Ugandans who rely on TASO for their medications and treatment.

  3. I was very surprised that infidelity that common in Uganda. From my experience so far in Uganda, I can tell that religion is a very important aspect of life for Ugandans. Because of this, I would expect people to remain loyal during a marriage. It turns out that married couples are at a higher risk of becoming infected with HIV/AIDS because of infidelity. If a man goes to the market to buy protection, people may assume he is cheating on his wife, so he will be skeptical to buy protection. Because of Uganda's polygamous history, it is more common then I ever thought for men to have sexual relations with multiple women. From visiting the tombs, we saw these polygamous traditions and can assume how they relate to life today and aid in transmission of HIV/AIDS.

  4. Like Shannon, I was surprised to hear about the escalating AIDS problem for married couples that is due to high rates of adultury. Religion is a big part of the Ugandan society and culture so it seemed pretty counter-intuitive to their beliefs. I actually left that lecture thinking that they made it sound like way more married people are unfaithful than really are- that was until I started noticing all of the giant red advertisements encouraging fidelity.