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HIV Prevention: Youth Optimistic as Mak Researchers Show Progress

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John N is a student at Kyambogo University. Like majority of the youth here, he is at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS due to the number of girlfriends he has.

“Almost every week, I hook up with a new girlfriend, despite of having my permanent girlfriend.” he said,

“I use condom but some I find myself going live and only test for my status, after with panick,” he adds.

Moses is another ‘handsome’ man of the clan, he says his chances of sleeping with girls are high.

Like John, Moses also says he gets hard time to use condoms.

“They are hectic, I don’t generally like them but use them because of fear to get HIV,” he said 

Majority the students whom DaParrot spoke to at this University who are currently in relationship snubbed using condoms while having sex with their loyal girlfriends.

Not Kyambogo alone, DaParrot proceeded to Makerere University Business School (MUBS) in Nakawa, the situation is no different.

“Condoms? My boyfriend use it because I fear to get HIV,” said a female student of Business Studies.

“I haven’t had an HIV test with him, he refused but I love him,” she added.

Speaking randomly to DaParrot, youth said they are more than ready to embrace the drugs that help in preventing HIV/AIDS should it be availed.

“As long as it doesn’t have side effects on my life, we are willing to take it in,” they said.

There submission follows the recent development by researchers at Makerere University under their umbrella body Mujhu who said the hunt for the prevention drugs for HIV is on course. 

Dr. Flava Matovu  Kiweewa, from Mujhu told reporters on Friday via zoom HIV Clinic that they are working hard to ensure that all interventions to help people prevent themselves from catching  HIV/AIDS.

This was during an angagement with health journalist under their ambrella organisation of Health Journalists Network Uganda (HEJNU).

She said, this is being done through the on-going studies on application of cabotegravir in Uganda in the districts of Mityana, Kassandra and Mubende.

Dr. Flava Matovu  Kiweewa, from Mujhu

“The injectable cabotegravir which is given bi-monthly has been approved by WHO and also incorporated into our guildelines.The long acting cabotegravir as prep for young women and men,” she said 

Different studies, she said are being conducted and these include among others HPTN 083 and HPTN 084.

“HPTN 083 is conducted on same sex and this is being conducted in USA, Brazil and other countries, while while the  chemical trials of  HTPN 084 that looked at cabotegravir for prep for women who have sex with men and is being conducted in Africa and Uganda inclusive,”

She said that for Uganda,  the study was conducted to  3200 women within that study, “and for you to able to tell that someone has received the injection.

“The studies were enrolling men or women who are at high risk of getting HIV and then assigning them to either taking cabotegravir as pep or being in the arm for the proven oral pep which HTC trovada. So initially for the first five weeks, everyone was on and after doing HIV Testing and confirming that they are truly negative they would be given an injection 

The survey was conducted in Kassanda, Mubende and Mityana, Dr. Kiweewa said that most of the infections are coming from Mubende.

“This is because Mubende is a bigger district and besides on a highway also explains, here girls are brought in trucks and all converge in Mubende for survival and they share accomodation because the jobs are low level and you stay at your workplace, there is also a barracks , there is a gold mine in Kassanda so it’s the nature of activities,” she said 

Charles Brown the Executive Care Director of Preventive Care International said that they have developed the HIV App they came up with to provide all information to young people on HIV issues.

HIV Prevalence is 5.5% among people aged 15 to 49 years and that is worrying and in women in it’s 7.1% and it’s higher than the rate in men.

Ruth Akuru from International community of Women Living with HIV in East Africa urged young people especially women to always be carefull and use the available interventions to protect them selves from “

What are we doing to ensure that once this product are available to the people and they can access the services. We have to look at the service delivery, we are only looking at the community but should also hold the government accountable, are they also solving issues around service delivery for example right now the prep fields are few in the country visavi the general population,” 

She outlined some of the upcoming projects aimed at preventing HIV/AIDS and these include among others; Mulipupose prevention technologies, these are products that will help us to prevent HIV and other sexual life reproductive issues semoultenously , there is also have the injectable product that will help to prevent HIV and unplanned pregnancies.

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