Refugee HIV Status Worries Officials
By Andrew Cohen Amvesi
Officials in Yumbe district have expressed worry over the HIV status of female refugees in the area.
Led by Aziz Aluma, the Ariwa Sub County LC3 Chairperson, the officials said most female refugees in different camps in Bidibidi refugee settlement area in Yumbe district have on several occasions, being reported to be HIV Positive.
According to Aluma, medical records from Ariwa Health Center III, majority of the female refugees seeking for antenatal services at the health unit have been found HIV Positive.
Aluma made the observations during a regional meeting with different West Nile stakeholders in Arua town on Monday.
Ariwa Sub County is one of the refugee hosting Sub Counties in Yumbe district which is a home to over 270, 000 refugees, mainly from South Sudan.
“Most pregnant refugees have been found HIV+ at Ariwa HCIII. This is very dangerous for us since the refugees coexist with locals,” Aluma said.
“Who knows, the husbands of such women may come out to have sex with our boys, likewise, our men may go for the female refugees in the camps hence ending up being infected with the virus,” Aluma said.
He added that the threat is real, especially in his Sub-County, which he said needs an immediate attention.
Similarly, Geoffrey Onzima, the Aringa North MP in Yumbe district also expressed worry over the continued influx of refugees in the district.
He said there is need for community sensitization on HIV/AIDs and Hepatitis B; diseases he said are likely to spread due to the influx of refugees in the area.
“If we don’t sensitize our people, HIV and Hepatitis B prevalence rate might go high in the district,” Onzima warned.
He directed the different stakeholders to join hands with their local leaders in guiding people on the dangers associated with the coming of refugees in the entire West Nile region.