The Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV/AIDS (UNYPA) has launched a condom campaign aimed at increasing the demand and use of condoms among young people.
While launching the campaign at Serene Hotel on Friday, Daphyne Olgah Namukuza, the UNYPA Programs Director said that the campaign is intended to reduce unwanted pregnancies and the spread of HIV and STDs among the youths.
“This can be achieved through addressing the structural barriers to access and utilization of condoms, challenging condom stigma while also creating awareness on the importance of correct and consistency use for young people and the general public who are sexually active,” she said.
The campaign, according to Namukuza, will run under the theme: Promoting increased condom demand and effective utilization among young people in Uganda.
She noted that the campaign will mobilize Civil Society Organizations, Community Champions and stakeholders in empowering young people from different grass roots and improve service delivery for condoms and address HIV related issues among young people.
“People who are sexually active need to take charge of their lives and make informed decisions on how to protect themselves from HIV,” cautioned Namukuza.
Nicholas Niwagaba, the Executive Director of UNYPA said that the biggest problem that the youths living positively face is stigmatization.
“Our mandate is to better the lives of young people living with HIV, and we boldly take it upon ourselves to ensure that we fight stigma through this pageant. Over the years, we have managed to position young people in the fight against stigma and in so doing, HIV,” he said.
He also noted that UNYPA will address misconceptions about condoms and HIV through this campaign.
“We will capacitate young people with skills for negotiating for safer sex and provide information on correct condom use as a way of preventing increased cases of teenage pregnancies in the country which is at 25% and new HIV infections estimated at 1,000 per week in Uganda,” added Niwagaba.
Niwagaba noted that the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to reverse the accomplishments that have been made in the fight against HIV/AIDS among youth.
The campaign will be implemented in the districts of Kampala, Gulu, Yumbe, Isingiro, Namayingo, Bududa, Katakwi and Amudat.
Meanwhile, UNYPA also unveiled the 7th edition of the Y+ beauty pageant.
Namukuza revealed that the beauty pageant has over the years served as a platform to young men and women 16- 25 years living with HIV to become voices to the voiceless, pillars of boldness and strength to those still afraid of HIV tests.
“These young people also share stories and testimonies of assurance that acquiring HIV is not the end of life, which is not that easy,” Namukuza added.
UNYPA is a youth led and serving organization providing leadership and coordinating the meaningful engagement of young people living with and affected by HIV in Uganda.
“We have organized the pageant for young people to re-echo their voices and build a strong productive generation. We will empower Y+ ambassadors both male and female as champions to challenge HIV related stigma, discrimination and gender based violence within communities,” she revealed.