Kadaga made the remarks while officiating at the parliamentary dialogue on HIV vaccine research in Uganda on Tuesday, 5 June 2018, where she said that the need for the vaccine was urgent.
“We have committed our advocacy on issues around HIV, so we will be happy to walk with you all the way to ensure this service comes to the people. I am delighted that you are in Masaka and I am praying that you also go to fishing areas where HIV is most prevalent,” she said.
The Head of Research at Makerere University Walter Reed Project (MUWRP), Dr Francis Kiweewa, said that the high prevalence rates of HIV has pushed the Vaccine Interest Group to continue looking for a cure.
“Since 1999, we have had only five vaccine candidates reaching phase three, which leads to licensing. Currently, we have four clinical trials in phase three, meaning that the candidates are beginning to show progress,” Kiweewa said.
He added that if there is no vaccine by 2020, the findings would help them have clearer knowledge on how to improve the next clinical trials.
“We believe that the vaccine is not far from us. Once we get the vaccine, we shall start by testing on animals, study its side effects before it’s tested on humans,” said Dr. Kiweewa.
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MUWRP’s Executive Director, Dr Hannah Kibuuka, said the 2020 target might not be met since the prevalence rate of new infections is not decreasing as desired.
“We have had HIV for decades and still struggling with it. Globally, 36.7 million people are living with HIV and we had 1.8 million new infections in 2016,” she said.
“In Uganda, HIV prevalence has declined to 6.5 percent, which is still significant because by 2016, only 67 percent of adults on Anti-Retroviral therapy, had access to treatment,” she added.
Dr. Kibuuka called for support towards HIV research through advocacy and adequate funding.