Program Areas

Community Services

HIV Prevention: Youth-Focused Activities

NUMAT poster targeting youth

NUMAT poster promoting HIV testing for youth.

NUMAT primarily targeted young people aged 10-24 years old in the sub-regions of Lango and Acholi, especially those adversely affected by conflict. Secondary audiences included parents, guardians, OVC care givers, religious leaders, teachers, policy makers, and cultural and opinion leaders.

Young people, especially girls in an impoverished post-conflict setting are particularly vulnerable to the threat of HIV infection. Nationwide HIV prevalence among youth 15-24 years of age was 3%, but in Northern Uganda, prevalence was 3.7%, with girls considerably more affected than boys (with rates of 5% and 1.9%, respectively).

This situation called for appropriate HIV-prevention interventions for young people, especially in Northern Uganda. Various factors make young people here especially vulnerable: early age at first sexual activity and frequent sexual activity; exchange of sex for food or money; multiple sexual partners; and unprotected sex.


Approach

NUMAT sought to reduce the rate of new HIV infection among young people through risk avoidance, emphasizing abstinence and secondary abstinence (that is, being mutually faithful to one partner) and correct and consistent use of condoms.

To ensure that the voices of youth and their parents were part of the design and planning process for HIV prevention activities, NUMAT worked with community groups to establish youth and parent advisory groups at the district level to advise on youth-related issues, messages, themes, activities, and processes. To coordinate with sub-county stakeholders, NUMAT facilitated the establishment of sub-county advisory committees. NUMAT built upon existing community and district resources by engaging local nongovernmental organizations and community-based organizations, community resource persons, community youth leaders, and other stakeholders. NUMAT aimed to surround young people with a supportive environment at every level, from the inner circle of family to peers, schools, places of worship, and the wider community.


Specific Activities
  • Mapped exercises on youth institutions (i.e. schools, youth groups, and organizations) at sub-county level
  • Identified available civil society and faith-based organization partners
  • Tailored interventions and facilitated links to fill gaps in prevention services
  • Worked with existing community structures to ensure that appropriate messages are widely-disseminated
  • Encouraged communities to identify role models to form advisory groups at the district, village, camp, and sub-county levels.

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