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FOR UGANDA, the trauma began innocuously enough in a fishing hamlet in Rakai district, in 1982. The new and mysterious disease was labelled 'Slim' because it led to severe body-wasting. For some reason, those affected were traders who engaged in cross-border trade with Tanzania.
The simple villagers thought this was the result of witchcraft practised against the traders who may have stolen fish from Lake Victoria.
They could not have been more wrong. For the scourge of HIV\AIDS had come to their land, and death had begun its stalking.
"Little did we know that this was the beginning of a fire that would sweep the country. By 1983, scientists had identified that illness as HIV," the Uganda AIDS Commission Director-General, Dr. David Apuuli, told a delegation of senior health policy-makers from India, on a UNAIDS-sponsored study tour of HIV/AIDS to Uganda last week.
Affected by a malady that reduced them to skeletons before death, the people's plight was worsened by the absence of both knowledge and the resources to tackle HIV/AIDS. The strategies were haphazard till a new leader the country got in 1986 - President Yoweri Museveni - decided to adopt an …