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Naguru Teenage Center launches new sexual reproductive health service project in central Uganda

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In the recent report dubbed “In Danger” by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), it showed that in the year 2021an adolescent girl or young woman between 15—24 years old became infected with HIV every two minutes and that 250,000 adolescent girls and young women were newly infected with HIV/AIDS.

With more than 80% of the total percentage in sub-Saharan Africa, the report further detailed that in this region, adolescent girls and young women are three times more likely to acquire HIV than their male counterparts.

Multiple vulnerabilities including harmful social norms and practices, and social, economic, and gender inequalities blocking progress for adolescent girls and young women were pointed out as the key drivers of the hike in infections.

A report released by the Ministry of Health in June 2022, indicated that Uganda’s HIV epidemic remains the largest in sub-Saharan Africa with 14 million adults aged between 15-49 years estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS.

LineSteppa Community

Much as HIV/AIDS-related deaths have reduced by 68% worldwide since the peak in 2004 a good percentage of Ugandans are still finding it challenging to access ARVs.

With over 20 years of promoting access to sexual reproductive health services to young people in Uganda, Naguru Teenage Information Center has on Monday launched a new project that will be implemented in the central districts of Buyikwe and Mukono.

This new innovation aimed at strengthening HIV/AIDS response in central Uganda dubbed the “Star -C Project” was designed to fit in the global campaign of eliminating HIV/AIDS by 2030 amongst key population areas.

According to Sam Asiimwe the head of programs at Naguru Teenage Center, this project is to focus on key population areas like fisher folk communities where HIV prevalence is high, female sex workers, and also individuals that are HIV positive to ensure that they access basic friendly services.

“The project is targeting the youth aged 35 and below, who are known to be disproportionately affected by HIV, especially adolescent girls and young women on Katosi and Ssenyi fish landing sites in Mukono and Kiyindi plus Busaana fish landing sites in Buikwe” he noted.

“We are also going to map out the hotspots where these key populations live and ensure that we work closely with their groups to pass on messages that improve their wealth and well-being” he added.

Naguru Teenage Information and Health Center (NTIHC) received funding from Gilead Sciences inc an American biopharmaceutical company to contribute towards the national HIV response among key populations in Uganda by increasing knowledge and awareness of HIV/AIDS among key populations in fishing communities.

LineSteppa Community

Throughout the 12 months of implementation, NTIHC will provide education and increase HIV/AIDS awareness and linkage to care services amongst 8,800 fisher folk, female sex workers, and people living with HIV.

According to the Ministry of Health 2020 findings, Ugandan lake Victorian fisher folk communities have an HIV prevalence estimated between 15-40% which is much higher than in the Ugandan general population for whom the HIV prevalence is estimated to be 7.3%.

The Programs Manager also articulated that on top of strengthening modalities of ensuring access to quality HIV care and prevention services, they are to introduce an App called M-Health which will help them to access timely information.

“This will be information enhancing their adherence to treatment, reminding them on their appointments, and guiding them on some aspects to ensure that they stay safe” he asserted.

In the one-year period, NTIHC will also leverage mobile health technology in HIV/AIDS care and treatment to increase access to cheaper treatment and response to medical emergencies.

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