WHATWOMENWANT: INVOLVE HIM & HER IN HIV PREVENTION
As an African young woman I take health, education, rights to be very important in my community. I have witnessed hardships in my community mainly with adolescents, girls and young people mostly in reproductive health discussions. Uganda falls among the 15 worst African countries with high numbers of child brides, at 46% of underage girls below 18 forced or lured in marriage.
In my response to the UNAIDS 2016 Guidance on HIV prevention among adolescent girls and young women, I speak as a young woman who is engaged in young women leadership initiative, Athena Network, UNYPA and currently engaged with different roles mainly advocating for safe environment for young women, girls and young people to access all kind of services for reproductive health. I have also championed different campaigns under ATHENA NETWORK like #WhatWomenWant which is not JUST a question from women but answers are also required through this campaign. I have gathered stories of how young women have been sexually violated, denied ownership and girls forced into marriage well as other women have been denied rights to access reproductive services follow the links below:
My opinion towards putting adolescent girls and young women at forefront in HIV prevention:
- Advocating for empowerment of AGYW and the promotion of AGYW in addressing current unequal gender norms that reduce AGYW ability to make informed choices about their own sexuality is key to reversing the dramatic upward trend of HIV infection among AGYW.
- Increase access to sexual and reproductive health services for all AGYW this is because there may be reluctant to seek advice, for fear of stigmatization cause some of young mothers give birth at an early age, so discriminatory attitude of staff in some centers keep them away.
- Sensitization program mes could help reduce stigma, for example, and training activities for health service staff could make services more user friendly
- Male and boy involvement, if we are to reduce HIV, GBV let’s not open our ears to one side. We should target on simple programs how we can engage male and boys in HIV prevention. This can be done through sports, music, empowerment talks male to male as well as using male role models.