Youth living with HIV /AIDS in Fort Portal City have decried the increasing stigma against them by families and communities.

According to records from the office of the Fort Portal City HIV Focal person, the HIV prevalence rate in the city currently stands at 14.6% compared to the national prevalence which stands at 7.3 %.

While remembering, the lives of relatives and friends who have succumbed to HIV/ AIDS at a candlelight event in Fort Portal City, the youth called for an end to stigma and discrimination, which they say affects their academic performance.

Violet Kansiime 21, the Miss Y+ for Western Region says that while in school she had lost hope in life due to the stigmatization she experienced from fellow students.

Kansiime says that she was either teased or avoided by the students.

George William Akora the Director of Youth and Women Empowerment Foundation –YAWE a local NGO that supports adolescents living with HIV/ AIDS argues that many children continue to drop out of school as a result of either stigmatization or phobia based on their HIV status; inflicted on them both by their teachers and fellow learners.

He says that since 2020, the focus has been put on epidemics like Covid-19 and Ebola, abandoning sensitization on other diseases which has led to an increase in the new infections of HIV.