Young people on what can be done to tame rising cases of HIV infections among youth

As Uganda joins the rest of the world to celebrate World Aids Day in December 1, statistics in Uganda show that young people are the most affected by HIV/AIDs.

According to the latest figures from the Ministry of Health, infections among young people (15-24 years) accounted for 37 percent of all the new HIV infections in the year 2021, with new infections occurring more among young girls compared to the boys. The same statistics show that more than 1,000 Ugandans are infected with HIV every week and about 325 die from Aids-related illnesses every week.

Definitely something needs to be done to change this grim picture and the good thing is that many young people have ideas on how the youth can protect themselves from getting infected with HIV/AIDS.  Some spoke to Youth Blitz.

Sophia Namyalo, 19, student

We just have to be careful with our lives. I tell my fellow youth that life has no spare parts so the first thing we have to do is to check our behavior. We should avoid reckless activities like drinking alcohol, taking drugs because these make us vulnerable to HIV.

Allan Masaba, 23, student

Young people can safeguard themselves against HIV if they turn to God. The problem today is that we have forgotten God which makes us engage in acts that put us at risk of HIV. Sex should only be practiced in marriage like the Bible says.

Mubarak Odong, 25, boda boda rider

The HIV situation is bad among the youth because of breakdown of families. Many parents have failed to play their role of counseling and guiding young people so you find that the youth are influenced by friends. If families were strong, there will be fewer cases of HIV.

Irene Kasirye, 27, businesswoman

On my part, I think as young people we have an obligation to seek knowledge and information on how to keep safe from HIV/Aids. The good thing is that many young people today are educated and can therefore read. So instead of blaming everyone, we have to blame ourselves because all the information on how to keep safe is available for free. The buck stops with us.

Derrick Ariho, 21, university student

I think government needs to do a lot of sensitization in schools and other institutions to protect young people. At my university, you can see that youth have no proper guidance. If my colleague has a girlfriend, I also feel that I must get one. So young people fall prey to peer pressure which is dangerous. So if the authorities can come and sensitize young people on how they can keep themselves safe, this will be good.

Stella Nabirye, 22, student

What I have seen is that young people are reckless and very experimental and this can lead to consequences. Therefore my idea is that schools and all other institutions need to work together to guide young people. Parents, teachers, community leaders, religious leaders and political leaders must emphasize the importance of morality to the young people if we must guard them against HIV.

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