Approximately 7% of Ugandans are HIV/AIDS positive. Each day roughly 172 Ugandans die as a result of the disease. While there is no cure, people can greatly reduce the risk of infecting themselves and their family members by taking appropriate preventative measures. Recently we invited Straight Talk Foundation, a Ugandan partner of ours, to lead a training session on how avoid and/or manage HIV/AIDS. We focused on three topics:
Prevention: The majority of participants at KKU are within a reproductive age group when sexual activity is a reality. The best way to battle HIV/AIDS is to heighten peoples understanding of how it’s transmitted and what can be done to prevent transmission.
Testing: Knowledge is power, and in the case of HIV/AIDS, knowing that you are infected has the power to reduce the spread of the disease. As you can imagine, taking a test that can have serious implications on the rest of your life is terrifying and is often avoided for that same reason. Straight Talk trained participants on where to access testing services, how to interpret their test results and how to talk with their partner/spouse about their status.
Medication: Antiretroviral (ARV) drug therapy can slow down the progress of HIV/AIDS and add up to 12 years to an infected persons life. While ARV’s generally help, the wrong medication cocktail can lead to drug-resistance and often times make the person sicker. Participants were trained on how to do ARV drug therapy and where to find free (or highly subsidized) ARV’s.
Our hope with the HIV/AIDS Awareness training was to open up a broader dialogue about how to avoid and/or manage a disease that is one of the leading causes of death in Uganda. Since the training our mentors have been hard at work providing support for the participants who are positive. This holistic care is helping them overcome the challenges that come with living with HIV/AIDS.
Many thanks to the Straight Talk Foundation.