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Diplomats recount efforts of narrowing HIV related stigma

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Amb. Natalie speaking at the launch of beauty peagant at Serena Hotel on Friday
Amb. Natalie speaking at the launch of beauty peagant at Serena Hotel on Friday

While they are often called upon to simply officiate advocacy-related ceremonies, crusaders often forget that diplomats could perhaps be led stoppers of HIV-related stigma and Discrimination.

During the recent launch of the Y+ Beauty Pageant at Serena Hotel in Kampala, Diplomats narrated their own experiences of narrowing down stigmatization and discrimination amongst HIV victims.

U.S Ambassador to Uganda Natalie Brow said that participating in promoting equal rights for victims is a great deriving and incredible honor which also helped set a positive tone for her tenure in the country.

“My very first public engagement upon arriving in Uganda was the 2020 grand finale and spending time with these young people living a way for the future was a great way to start my work.”

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This, she said allowed her to meet amazing young advocates throughout the country, and being that youth are the majority of Uganda’s population, she believes they continue to be crucial to the country now and in the future.

Currently, HIV prevalence amongst adolescent girls and young women aged 15-29years is more than double that of boys and also the rate of new infections remains high amongst adolescent girls than boys.

It’s in this regard that H.E Natalie Brown pledged their continued support and commitment to the Health Ministry and other stakeholders such that they work together towards ousting it by 2030. 

Daniel Byamukama the head of HIV prevention at the Uganda Aids Commission justified the need for standing with young people especially those with HIV as a way of keeping them free from a cultural discriminatory inheritance which also deliverers an HIV-free generation.

“It’s the young people who should solve the problems of the fellow young people we believe the challenges in adherence to attaining viral road suppurations can be solved by the innovations of the young people, tell us what needs to be done and we shall implement it” Byamukama highlighted.

He also justified Uganda Aids Commission’s inspirational strategies which are also stigma free ambitious.

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“We are willing to hear and learn from you, you just need to tell us the best way and interventions that work for you” he articulated.

Ruth Awori the Executive Director of UNYPA said that now that young people know what they want, this is their chance to engage and support them because they are the end-users at the end of the day.

“Let’s give young people a chance to be part of the designing of the programs and development of policies because at the end of the day they are the ones who will either benefit or be affected” Awori noted.

Jackson Chekweko the Executive Director of Reproductive Health Uganda(RHU) said that positioning young people living with HIV to lead their campaigns is critical and as stakeholders, they are pleased and committed to supporting them in every step they are willing to take.

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“As Reproductive Health Uganda we are happy to be associated with this campaign and we call upon all stakeholders to come on board to support this cause” he added.

Y+ Beauty Pageant is a unique campaign organized by the Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV (UNYPA) aimed at ending stigma and discrimination relating to HIV by empowering young people with knowledge and advocacy skills that enable them to lead the fight against stigma.

The 9th edition of the Y+ Beauty Pageant themed “We have got the voice, pass us the mic”  will involve a series of auditions from the Central, Eastern, Northern and Western parts of the country.

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