The AIDS Healthcare Foundation Launches a Campaign to Fight HIV Amongst Young Women and Adolescent Girls

KAMPALA, Uganda–(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.

Contacts

AHF Uganda Cares Contact:
Henry Magala
Country Program Director
Henry.Magala@aidshealth.org
or
Alice
Kayongo
Regional Policy and advocacy Manager, E/W Africa
Alice.Kayongo@aidshealth.org
or
AHF
Africa media Contact:
Oluwakemi Gbadamosi
Senior Manager, PR &
Communications, Africa Bureau
oluwakemi.gbadamosi@aidshealth.org