New Vision (Kampala) - February 21, 2012
Residents of Buyiga island, Kammengo sub-county in Mpigi district
have asked government to intensify HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns
in the area.
It is presumed many people living on the island hold strong
convictions on HIV/AIDS.
"We still carry myths and misconceptions about HIV/AIDS. People
are hesitant to have HIV tests because they are not sensitized,"
said Betty Nabwanika of Buyiga A.
The appeal for intensified awareness was raised during a one-day
HIV/AIDS awareness workshop at Buyiga C which was organized by a
community-based organization, Joint Efforts for Youth Uganda
(JOY-Uganda) with support from Mercury Phoenix Trust, a UK
The workshop targeted peer educators, elders, local leaders and
teachers, aiming to equip them with knowledge and skills on
HIV/AIDS spread, prevention, management and available support
JOY-Uganda programme co-ordinator, Florence Nakaayi said the
project code-named, 'SAY NO to HIV/AIDS on Buyiga Island' will
also reach out to pupils and students in 20 schools in Kammengo
The outreach programme will look to arm the school children with
accurate information about the HIV/AIDS epidemic especially in
the context of young people.
"Often parents do not speak about sexual health with their
children probably because of cultural norms. However, if we have
to fight HIV/AIDS among young people, we should break the silence
now," Nakaayi said.
Participants revealed that during HIV testing in community
outreaches, clients are not given enough counseling. And as a
result, people who test HIV positive find their health
They noted that it discourages other community members from
testing for the virus.
Among the over 60 participants in the workshop, only four people
disclosed to have tested for HIV before.
The Buyiga B LCI chairman, Yozefu Ategeka said the island
recieves migrants on a routine basis which makes the community
more vulnerable to HIV infection.
He appealed for immediate intervention of stakeholders
responsible to prevent the spread of the virus and setting up of
support services in the area.
The island has a population of over 2000 people.
Participants also expressed need for free condoms, Prevention of
Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) services and HIV/AIDS
training among traditional birth attendants who handle a big
number of mothers when delivering.
A condom is sold at sh1200 on the island.
Participants set a committee which would spread HIV/AIDS fight
gospel in the area.