HIV and AIDS policy makers have been challenged to design more
prevention programmes targeting girls.
"We must address the vulnerability of the girl child. The social
environment makes it almost impossible for them to stay safe.
This makes them 18 times more vulnerable to contracting the virus
than their male counterparts," said Cathy Watson, the Straight
Talk Foundation executive director.
Presenting the findings of the organisation's strategic plan
mid-term review at the Uganda AIDS Commission headquaters on
Tuesday, Watson said many girls were involved in early sex mainly
through forced marriages.
"Girls are much more likely to be out of school and they are much
more likely to be married by the age of 18 than boys and the way
they get married is unsafe," Watson noted.
"In some communities, they are pushed into marriage even without
getting to know their spouses better. In the process, they get
Watson observed that 25% of the new HIV infections in Uganda were
occurring in people aged under 25.
She expressed conceren that society was hesitant to talk to young
people about marriage.
This, she said, was wrong, because young people get involved in
Rose Nalwadda, the Uganda AIDS Commission planning and monitoring
director, said: "We are not doing enough to prevent new
infections. That is why we need to adopt the Straight Talk
model." Straight Talk is a behaviour change NGO founded in 1993,