A lot of effort has been geared towards stopping the spread of HIV / AIDS over the years, with more accessible and efficient health care services, counselling and prevention campaigns, fighting stigma and creating awareness but the number of people getting infected with the disease still remains high. According to the latest estimates (2015) by Uganda Aids Commission (UAC), 380 new infections occur daily. “This implies that annually, 138,700 new infections are added to the already 1.6 million people living with HIV. These statistics make Uganda the third leading contributor of new HIV infections in Africa after Nigeria and South Africa.” (Observer).
With women remaining at a much higher risk of contracting this deadly virus, the Girls Kisoboka campaign was launched to break this cycle and stop new infections among girls, to help them make more informed decisions concerning reproductive health, stop stigma and conduct medical interventions among those living with HIV/AIDS. AHF Uganda Cares in conjunction with Peer to Peer Uganda, PINA Uganda and Public Health Ambassadors Uganda have spear headed this nation-wide campaign. “Since the start of the global HIV epidemic, in many regions, women have remained at a much higher risk of HIV infection than men. Young women and adolescent girls in particular, account for a disproportionate number of new HIV infections among young people living with HIV” according to avert.org
When asked about their main concerns regarding reproductive health, the girls of Bwaise parent’s school cited rape, forced marriages and stigma as the biggest issues they are currently facing. This makes it our responsibility as a community, as parents, and as health workers to create a conducive environment for young people to grow and thrive amidst all these challenges and see to it that the prevalence of HIV is minimized among the young people. We all have a part to play and we ought to engage the tools and channels we have to create an AIDS free generation.
As we continue to explain to the young boys and girls the importance of abstinence, early testing and practicing safe sex, we also need to take that extra step. To reach out into our communities and ensure the safety of children and adolescents. To change the narrative and reduce the number of young people increasingly getting infected by HIV.