17th October 2020

Theme:  Access to HIV Services During COVID-19 Pandemic

17th October is here again! On this day, Uganda commemorates the legendary Ugandan who pioneered to give AIDS a human face amidst stigma, discrimination, denial and ignorance. Philly Bongole Lutaaya (19 October 1951-15 December 1989) as a Sweden-based Ugandan musician was the first prominent Ugandan to publically declare that he had HIV. His declaration created awareness and mitigated myths and misconceptions surrounding HIV and AIDS. He used music to educate the population about the epidemic and articulated the strategies for prevention which evolved into the Abstinence, Being Faithful and Use of Condoms (ABC) model and he impacted many lives.

Before dying of AIDS, Lutaaya spent his remaining time writing songs about his battle with AIDS, releasing his last album ‘Alone and Frightened’, (including his famous song "Alone"-which is synonymous with HIV messages), as well as touring churches and schools throughout Uganda to spread messages on HIV prevention. Philly Lutaaya’s advocacy work was a catalyst to Uganda’s HIV and AIDS success story and contributed greatly to reducing HIV prevalence from 18% at that time to 6% in 2019.

He is acknowledged as ‘a father of Positive Living’ a notion that drives the international principle of greater and meaningful involvement of People Living with HIV/ (PLHIV) which eventually promotes prevention with a positive strategy.

Every year, Uganda AIDS Commission and Partners mobilize stakeholders countrywide to commemorate the PHILLY LUTAAYA DAY on 17th October. The day presents a forum to mobilize the entire population to reflect and evaluate the commitments to end HIV/AIDS.

The Philly Lutaaya Day contributes to the most needed opportunities to reach the communities with facts on HIV strategies, disseminate international and national achievements, share notable research findings and awareness of access to care and treatment, social support and HIV prevention. The event offers a forum to showcase national interventions and provide HIV and health services to the communities and showcase their contributions in the response.

The event further stimulates and empowers individuals to access HIV messages/ information, counseling and testing, sexual reproductive health and referrals to the HIV continuum of care. The event further serves to re-engage leaders to make pronouncements and commitments towards policy development and roll-out, resource mobilization and actions targeting improved HIV and AIDS responses.


The purpose of the commemoration is to inform Ugandans through the media about Philly Lutaaya Day and promote Lutaaya’s legacy in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Due to COVID- 19, commemoration of Philly Lutaaya will largely be held scientifically with only a limited number of people physically present at the memorial lecture to be held at the President’s Office.

Specific Objectives

Specific objectives include:

  1. To promote HIV awareness and reach over ten million Ugandans with the messages of ending AIDS as a public health threat in Uganda by 2030.
  2. To engage over 200 media houses and private sector in promoting the legacy of Philly Lutaaya and recognize his contribution especially in the fight against stigma and discrimination of People Living with HIV (PLHIV).
  3. To engage the top leadership of the Justice sector and all stakeholders in promotion and enforcement for the rights of PLHIV in Uganda.

Theme for Philly Lutaaya Memorial 2020

The theme for memorial lecture is Access to HIV Services During COVID-19 Pandemic. The unprecedented COVID -19 pandemic has presented a number of challenges particularly for People Living with HIV in accessing care, treatment, social support and protection. It is therefore paramount that efforts are stepped up to address the challenges so that the gains earlier made are not reversed.



Activities for Commemoration of Philly Lutaaya Memorial Day

In order to engage the stakeholders and entice participation, a number of activities have been organized and will take place prior to the memorial lecture. These include; holding national organizing committee meetings to provide leadership and mobilization of HIV messages, conducting engagement meetings with the Justice Sector leadership and other stakeholders to embrace the occasion, Press brief on 14th October 2020 to inform the public about the commemoration, conduct radio and television talk shows to increase information to the masses on HIV epidemic and response, engage social media to intensively push out messages on HIV and AIDS and a scientific memorial lecture on 17th October 2020.

Press Conference 14th October 2020

On 14th October 2020, a press conference was organized at Office of the President Conference Hall to inform the public and media fraternity about the commemoration of Philly Lutaaya day. The conference was addressed by the Minister for Presidency Hon. Esther Mbayo in the presence of Chairman Board UAC, Director General UAC, Representative from Inter Religious Council of Uganda, Chairperson of the National Forum of People Living with HIV Networks in Uganda (NAFOPHANU) and Executive Director of UNYPA. While giving her remarks, Hon. Esther Mbayo noted that when HIV and AIDS was first discovered in the 80’s, little was known about it and many people were dying as some thought it was as a result of bad omen and that the affected families had been bewitched.  She went ahead to note that there was a lot of fear among the general population because HIV and AIDS was indeed a death sentence because medicines were not easily accessible to many people at the beginning.  The Minister pointed out some of the effects of HIV and AIDS in the early days to include death on massive scale that resulted into many child headed households and excessive stigma and discrimination of those who were infected and affected by HIV. “This is the time that Philly Bongoley Lutaaya, one of Uganda’s greatest musicians, came out openly as having HIV/AIDS and started preaching about HIV and how each and every one should protect themselves,” the Minister said, and this was the beginning of Uganda’s success story and Philly gave HIV/AIDS a face. She further noted that Philly used music to convey a message of hope and to educate the population about HIV/AIDS and how to prevent it.  He pioneered the fight against stigma and discrimination of People Living with HIV/AIDS and today, his song Alone and Frightened remains Uganda’s anthem for HIV/AIDS.

On Stigma and discrimination, the Hon. Minister noted that if we are to end AIDS by 2030, we need to fight stigma and discrimination as a team. “Government officials, religious leaders, private sector actors, cultural leaders, artists, media practitioners, teachers, parents and people living with HIV all have a role to play and need to be part of these efforts to end stigma and discrimination which is a critical barrier to ending AIDS as a public health threat,” said the Honourable minister for presidency.

She thus called upon Persons Living with HIV to:

  • Confront, challenge or educate someone who is stigmatizing and/or discriminating them against a PLHIV;
  • Seek knowledge about organizations that he/she can go to for help if he/she experiences stigma or discrimination;
  • Advocate for the rights of all People Living with HIV and for the rights and support of marginalized groups of people affected or infected with HIV/AIDS;
  • Provide support to people living with HIV through emotional, physical and referral support;
  • Raise awareness and knowledge of the public about AIDS, including human rights and HIV stigma and discrimination.
  • Voluntarily disclose his/her HIV status to the spouse or partner so as to prevent infection;
  • Demand for his/her rights and ensure that they are observed and not violated.

The Minister thanked the stakeholders including the AIDS development Partners for their continued support towards ensuring that PLHIV have access to testing and treatment services and for their role in fighting stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV. She thanked the people living with HIV networks who continue to carry the legacy of Philly Bongoley Lutaaya and give the AIDS fight a face, and the family of the late Philly Lutaaya for keeping his memory alive thus reminding us of his contribution to the HIV/AIDS fight. Finally, she appreciated H.E Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for the unwavering leadership to the National HIV response over the years. (PLease Click the Link Below  To Download Full Statement of the Minister )





Philly Lutaaya Memorial Lecture (17th Oct 2020)

Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic in the country that led to a partial lockdown, commemoration of Philly Lutaaya day will be peaked at a scientific memorial lecture which will be held on 17th October 2020 at Office of the President Conference Hall. The guest of Honor/Key Note Speaker at the memorial lecture will be the Chief Justice of the Republic of Uganda His Lordship Hon. Alfonse Owiny Dollo. The Ministry of ICT & NG will collaborate with the media self-coordinating entity and UAC to ensure that the event is live streamed on UBC and NTV televisions and on all UAC social media platforms in order to reach a wider community.








Thursday, May 7, 2020 - 17:00