Reach out Mbuya Parish HIV /AIDS Initiative (ROM) welcomes the theme of the #KabakaRun2020; “Men against AIDS to save the girl child.”
A hot button in HIV spread and management that is worth championing by a cultural institution.
In Uganda, men have not been responsive in the fight against HIV; men have a low health service seeking behavior including going for HIV testing and treatment thus putting women and girls at a high risk of getting infected with HIV.
This was also revealed in the Uganda Population-Based HIV Impact Assessment (UPHIA 2016–2017) report that indicated the HIV prevalence rates at 14.0% among men aged 45 to 49 and 12.9% among women aged 35 to 39 whereas, among young adults, HIV prevalence is almost four times higher among females than males aged 15 to 19 and 20 to 24. This has been attributed to poor health-seeking behavior by adult men with money who charm the young girls who in turn make uninformed decisions about their health and desire money from these men.
Reach Out Mbuya has struggled for long to reach men and get them involved in this noble fight. A number of tailor-made outreaches to get them on board have been commissioned slowly growing the will to behavior change, attracting linkage to and retention in care.
Cases of non-disclosure to partners, lack of support to HIV negative partners, poor ARV adherence, Gender-Based Violence and more stifle the fight against the spread of HIV.
Reach Out Mbuya (ROM) offers weekly Moonlight Clinics that facilitate easier and faster access to HIV care and treatment services for men at the ROM Kinawataka site every Wednesday from 5 pm to 10 pm. Our Operation Gideon Program mobilizes groups of both HIV positive and negative men to discuss their challenges at places of their convenience especially drinking joints, betting halls and during sports galas. ROM ensures that men are represented by clients’ representatives as board members that further discuss men’s issues.
We need men at the front of the HIV fight.
With the men in our communities knowing their HIV status they are able to protect the women in their lives and greatly support the prevention and spread of HIV.
Bravo Buganda kingdom, support from cultural leaders is a great step ahead.