KAMPALA, Uganda - Sunday, October 30th 2016 [ME NewsWire]
(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Uganda Cares has today launched a campaign to fight HIV/AIDS amongst young women and adolescent girls aged 12-24 years.
The campaign dubbed Girls’ ACT (Awareness Campaign Tour) is largely informed by the compelling fact that young women and adolescent girls account for one in five new HIV infections in Africa and are almost three times more likely than their male counterparts to be living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. In Uganda alone, HIV prevalence amongst young women aged 15-24 was estimated at 4.2% compared to 2.4% for young men, in 2013! “These statistics indicate that young women and adolescent girls are disproportionately affected by HIV as compared to their male peers,” said Flavia Kiringooba, a young counsellor at AHF Uganda Cares. “This therefore means that we need to reach out to the young women in a more aggressive manner than ever before.”
Girls’ ACT, loosely translated as ‘Girls’ Kisoboka’ is a multi-institutional drive that primarily aims to; a) scale up HIV/AIDS prevention services so as to cub new HIV infections amongst this population sub-group, and b) ensure that young people living with HIV are enrolled and retained in HIV care for improved health outcomes. “In so doing, we believe that we will be able to promote positive living with dignity amongst young women and adolescent girls,” said Henry Magala, Country Program Director, AHF Uganda Cares. “Observations from clinics across the country indicate that several young people do not adhere to HIV treatment as they ought to. Through this campaign, we hope that several young people living with HIV will be empowered and encouraged to seek and stick to their medication and medical advice.”
This campaign that will take the form of a concert-like caravan expected to move from one district to another while bringing services closer to the communities will target young women and adolescent girls from all walks of life, from different socioeconomic groupings and dwellings. However, their male counterparts and the general community as key gate keepers for young girls’ protection will also benefit by accessing HIV/AIDS related information & services as well as other connect services.
“After due consultations with youth led groups and young people we came to the conclusion that we need to take HIV/AIDS services and information to where the young women and adolescent girls are, using approaches that are appealing, exciting and spark their participation,” said Alice Kayongo, Regional Policy and Advocacy Manager E/W Africa. “Majority of the girls do not visit health facilities for various reasons, and those living with HIV continue to struggle with self-esteem issues and stigma, which negatively impact their health. Therefore, if we want to get different results, we must do things differently and that is what we are doing with the GIRLS ACT.”
Working with other stakeholders we trust that the campaign will enable young women and adolescent girls have access to various services and information on HIV/AIDS, menstrual hygiene, psychosocial support, sexual reproductive health and legal aid amongst others. “It is really great to see the support that we have received from young people, the government and partners on the GIRLS ACT. The excitement from the girls is contagious and does reveal that we are doing something right,” said Dr. Penninah Iutung, AHF Africa Bureau Chief. “We plan to extend the GIRLS ACT to other regions of the country and beyond the campaign, we are working closely with partners to contribute towards the provision of necessary medical and psychosocial support for this group so as to enable them live more productive lives.”
About AHF Uganda Cares:
AHF Uganda Cares is a collaboration between the Uganda Ministry of Health and AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) based in Los Angeles, USA. It is the country program affiliate of AHF, a not for profit NGO engaged in HIV service provision and advocacy.
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AHF Uganda Cares Contact:
Country Program Director
Regional Policy and advocacy Manager, E/W Africa
AHF Africa media Contact:
Senior Manager, PR & Communications, Africa Bureau