Minister Costello's Visit to The AIDS Support Organisation12/12/13
During his trip to Uganda, Minister Joe Costello T.D. visited TASO-Mulago to see at first hand the positive impact of TASO on people like Alan.
For a long time, Uganda was leading sub-Saharan Africa in the fight against HIV/AIDS. From a prevalence of 18% in 1992, it was reduced to 6.2% in 2002. However, it has recently been rising again and is currently at 7.3%.
The AIDS Support Organisation (TASO) is an indigenous HIV and AIDS NGO founded in 1987 by 16 volunteers to restore hope and improve the quality of life of persons, families and communities affected by HIV and related infections. It is one of the largest institutions providing comprehensive HIV prevention, care and support services in Uganda, with programmes for children, adolescents, men, women and couples. It operates through 69 facilities located in major towns of the country.
Alan Tushabe is a 15 year old boy living in Kinaawa, Wakiso district, in Central Uganda. The charisma, energy and positive attitude with which he carries himself makes it hard to believe that Alan is an orphan living with HIV. Alan regularly fell sick during his childhood. However, it was only after his mother’s death in 2007, that his supportive grandmother and uncle took him to TASO-Mulago in Kampala for treatment. He was found to be HIV positive and began treatment. He has since then received free treatment, free medication, and support to attend school through TASO.
“I am grateful to TASO for the free treatment I receive from them, the scholastic materials they give me, promoting our talents through music and dance as well as the friendly counselors who are always there for us”.
Adolescents living with HIV face particular challenges, and their needs go beyond the material. Alan is no exception; he is an only child, whose father died before his birth, and he is still disturbed as to why his mother never told him about his HIV status. Psychological counseling, and the creative outlet provided by the TASO Adolescent Drama Group, are crucial parts of the holistic support provided by TASO.
Alan says, “I am grateful to TASO for the free treatment I receive from them, the scholastic materials they give me, promoting our talents through music and dance as well as the friendly counselors who are always there for us”.
Irish Aid has partnered with TASO since 2002. During his trip to Uganda, the Minister of State for Trade and Development, Joe Costello T.D., visited TASO-Mulago, to see at first hand the positive impact of TASO on people like Alan.
The Minister commended TASO for its contribution to Uganda’s response to HIV / AIDS:
“TASO is recognized as one of the key contributors to the reduction of stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda. The Irish Government is proud to have contributed to this achievement”.
“Ireland has made the fight against HIV/AIDS in poorer countries a key priority of its foreign policy and development assistance. We are committed to continued investment globally, regionally and at country levels to overcome the pandemic.”
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