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IAS 2011 Gives Award Winner the Opportunity to Talk about Young Women HIV-related Issues

Posted 26 juin 2013, 05:35 , by Guest

By Dr. Milly Nanyombi Kaggwa, Programs Director at PACE Uganda and IAS 2011 winner of the Women, Girls and HIV Investigators Award

IAS 2011 in Rome was my first IAS Conference and I was excited to bring issues concerning young women and youth at the forefront in the global response to HIV. I feel very fortunate to have received the Women, Girls and HIV investigators Award for the abstract ‘Preventing HIV Infection among young girls by addressing Cross Generational Sex (CGS) in Secondary Schools in Uganda’. Not only was I able to attend the conference programme but also to participate in pre-conference meetings with other awards and grants winners and interact with leading scientists in the HIV field. I also received a lot of media attention that helped my project to get a high level of attention. That also gave me the opportunity to talk about the ‘Go-Getters’ programme in Uganda.

The ‘Go-Getters’ programme provided HIV peer education and social support groups for young women through youth clubs. The youth clubs offer a unique space for young women to receive counseling about the risks involved in cross-generational relationships, as well as guidance on how to map out a path to success in their future careers and lives. ‘Go-Getters’ club members are empowered with life skills that will enable them to make sound decisions when faced with risky choices and live safer, healthier and happier lives.

As a result of these efforts and with the support of corporate partners such as Johnson & Johnson, PSI and PACE were been able to disseminate the ‘Go-Getters’ model throughout Uganda, preventing thousands of HIV infections and empowering young women to achieve their dreams. The results of this intervention underscore the importance of integrating a life-skill building curriculum into HIV prevention programmes targeted at young women. In doing so, young women improve their confidence to abstain from sex and reject social norms that encourage cross generational sex among girls in school. For me being a part of this programme has been a way of achieving a lifelong dream; helping improve the lives of young women in Uganda. Unfortunately, the ‘Go Getter’s’ programme run out of funding and we had to stop activities. For more information on this please visit www.pace.org.ug or www.psi.org.

The IAS 2013 “Women, Girls and HIV Investigator’s” Awards will be presented on Monday, 1 July at 8.50 before the Monday Plenary Session.

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