As you know, the unprecedented COVID19 situation we are currently experiencing continues to affect all parts of our society, changing our lives and livelihoods. Amidst this entire storm, as a youth-led organization, we have been quick to take action and respond to the needs of Young people living with HIV in Uganda.
As a matter of fact, this year more than ever before we have implemented a couple of projects aimed at restoring hope to the Young Positives especially those in the informal sector.
As an HIV organization in Uganda, we have sought to empower young people to demand for and utilize HIV services, support and care in a participatory and inclusive manner that also recognizes and actively engages with CSOs and key public sector agencies at National-level.
Ultimately our SRHR & HIV/AIDS related interventions this year have attained enormous impact on the lives of the youth and partner organisations by teaching implementing partners the importance of combined synergies to amplify voice for young positives’ needs in Uganda,while also creating an enabling environment for policy advocacy of the right to SRH, increased awareness on HIV prevention and spreading out of information on HIV.
Below are some of the key milestones achieved in this year including;
- We have been strong partners in the Key Population Investment Fund (KPIF) with support from CDC through IDI and UHRN to provide peer led discussions and knowledge generation on factors that impede PWIDS from accessing HIV/AIDS information and services. A number of PWIDS have been tested, Linked and Retained into care and virally suppressed.
- UNAIDS supported us in a hope restoration project titled #GIVINGHOPE to young people living with HIV in the informal sector, Considering the fact that most of the young people linked with UYP are in the informal sector, majority have little knowledge about their treatment regimes, all they know is the appearance of the drug container with very little knowledge on exactly what they take and also their businesses were greatly affected by the lock down yet this was their only source of livelihood. Under this project we have facilitated treatment literacy, Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) information, Sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) and provision of seed grants to 100 young people with a specific focus on those in the informal sector whose businesses were affected by the lock down to revamp their small scale businesses so that they do not lose hope in the uncertain future ahead.
- We have also continued to facilitate comprehensive care and support to YPLHIV and their families by continuing to deliver their ART refills and transporting those who needed services like viral load, TB tests, CD4 tests to health facilities so that they remain healthy which has greatly contributed to viral load suppression, retention and avoiding lost to follow up cases after COVID19.
- UYP has also continued to raise HIV/AIDS awareness especially on issues regarding stigma & discrimination, positive living and on the availability and location of HIV & SRHR and HIV/AIDS services and information for young people in the informal sector through use of our different Digital programming platforms including Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and YouTube. These have facilitated online dialogue on the impact of HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 on young people.
- Uganda Young Positives with partners held landmark sessions and activities that included.
- A webinar with MenEngage Africa where the ED was invited as a panelist to share our COVID19 experience and the support we are offering to our communities.
- Got a chance to be nominated as the Alternate Member of the Country Coordinating Mechanism for the Global Fund representing PLHIV.
- Read the community statement at the National Commemoration of the International World AIDS day 1st/DEC/2020 at the office of the president.
- Attained quite a number of radio & TV programs with different national and international stations on the impact of HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 on young people.
- With support from UNAIDS and MenEngage Uganda we also distributed Food and Hygienic packs to our community members.
- The AIDS Support Organization with support from global fund also sent some of our member mobile money as food support to YPLHIV.
Above all, amid the challenges and uncertainties presented to us in 2020, we have shown an unwavering commitment to ensuring the health and well-being of Young People Living with HIV/AIDS. As we all take this holiday period to reflect and recharge, we hope that wherever you are, your time off is as special as circumstances allow.
Very warm wishes from all of us at the Uganda Young Positives, we thank you for your support and here’s to peace, health and wellness in 2021.