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On February 24th, 2024, UYAHF change champions under the Power to Youth program conducted a community outreach in Nakulabye, a Kampala suburb, to share sexual reproductive health (SRH) information and extend free services to the ghetto community that is grappling with increased drug abuse and HIV cases.

Led by their chairperson, Nuwampeire Shabellah, the champions teamed up with the Kitunga League, a male football league in Nakulabye, and mobilized 63 young people who took up free SRH services, held sessions on drug abuse and menstruation, and received accurate information on contraception, particularly condom use, as a means to prevent the high rate of HIV/STI infections and pregnancies within the suburb.

During the outreach held at Supremacy turf, which is the league training ground, the youth champions held practical sessions and demonstrations on how to correctly use condoms and test for HIV using the self-testing kit, as well as information on the referral systems as a means to facilitate reporting SGBV. They also popularized the UYAHF’s toll-free Suubi-helpline (0800379995) as an avenue for young people to privately and conveniently seek any health-related information and services, in addition to reporting cases of sexual abuse and violence.

“We have had many young people come through, especially the males, who have asked key questions around contraception and their dilemmas with drug use, while some came purposely to pick condoms.” Revealed Nuwampeire Shabellah.

She noted that the majority of the young people were not aware of the HIV self-testing kits, and most of them were seeing them for the first time. She, however, said that they were excited about it and its usability, claiming that it is more private and easier to use.

Besides the joint session, I had over 20 other young people ask me to demonstrate to them how to use the self-testing kits. This shows how important privacy, confidentiality, and convenience are in the efforts to reduce HIV, especially among young people.” Jayson Yiga,  a change champion and a person living with HIV.

According to Yiga, many young people have never tested their health status because they fear going to clinics or health facilities due to stigma and fear of being judged. He says the self-testing kits, if popularized and made available to most young people, will go a long way in reducing the spread of HIV.

Besides distributing free condoms and HIV self-testing kits, the outreach was also a fundraising opportunity where the youth advocates, with support from the Kitunga League, collected basic items, including clothes, shoes, scholastic materials, and money, which they will distribute to the vulnerable children during their next outreach scheduled for March 7th, 2024, in Kiibazi village, Bushenyi district.