Kampala will on the 12th of December hold the first of a kind music concert. The Celebrate Life Concert will bring a pool of musicians and HIV /AIDS activists to spread awareness around HIV drug resistance and promote adherence to treatment amongst the general public, people living with HIV and those from affected families. Drug resistance occurs when the HIV virus becomes immune to the drugs. Uganda is one of the countries facing higher rates of HIV drug resistance in sub-Saharan Africa.
The current challenge with HIV treatment in Africa has been the ‘carpet bombing’ of African countries with antiretroviral (ARVs) drugs with more than 10 million people on treatment and the unintended consequence of such is that drug resistance will develop inevitably. It is in such a backdrop that the Celebrate Life Concert is being organized to help spread the message of resilience and fighting HIV Drug resistance. This free admission concert is meant to create attention to challenges in HIV treatment, promote of adherence while at the sometime bring into the limelight the socio-economic experience of people living with HIV. For ordinary people some of this information might be too technical to comprehend hence spreading knowledge around such critical issues using music and entertainment can help increase awareness among people from all walks of life.
Speaking about the concert, one of the artists billed to perform and a renowned HIV Activist, Moses ‘Super Charger’ Nsubuga said,
“I am excited to be part of this initiative. We need to bring and keep the discussion around HIV treatment and drug resistance in the public.”
The concert will see renowned local musical acts like Willy Mukabya, Amooti Omubalanguzi, Geoffrey Lutaaya, Irene Namatovu, Joanita Kawalya, Pamela Senyonga, Sam Gombya and Stipperman among others.
The Celebrate Life Concert will take place at the National Theater on Saturday the 12th of December, 2015 and entrance is FREE to all. It is being organized by PINA Uganda with the support of Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD). AIGHD has been implementing the project which monitors HIV drug resistance in a number of African countries, including Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Zambia.
In studies conducted by AIGHD in different countries , it was found that 12% of adults living with HIV have HIV drug resistance, even before they start taking antiretroviral drugs.In other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, such as Zimbabwe, South-Africa, Kenya, Zambia and Nigeria, these numbers are much lower, around 5%. The researchers behind the study suggested that, these numbers might be higher in Uganda probably because antiretroviral drugs have been available in Uganda before they were available in other African countries. If the virus gets exposed to these drugs for a long time, it is more likely that it will create a copy which is drug resistant.