Saturday December 7, 2019

Ugandan Pageant Combat HIV Stigma

Reaching young teens and young adults is key to halting the spread of HIV

0
//
Kabasambo Esther Winner Beauty Pageant
Kabasambo Esther Winner of the Miss Y+ Beauty Pageant 2019-2020 in Kampala Uganda waves to the audience. VOA

Nearly one-third of Uganda’s new HIV infections occur among 15-to-25-year-olds, who say that although there has been progress, stigma is still a problem. To raise awareness ahead of World AIDS Day on December 1, Uganda holds an annual fashion show and beauty pageant for young people infected with the virus that causes AIDS and calls them the Young Positives.

The pomp, dance and fashion were on display November 22 at the pageant finale in Kampala. But the aim of this annual show is not just to display beauty and talent.

“You’re HIV-positive — you’re a moving dead body, or you’re promiscuous,” said Nicholas Niwagaba, who is with the pageant organizer, the Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV and AIDS. “We are trying to change that narrative to say that young people living with HIV or people living with HIV are  human beings. We want the community to accept them.”

Education on HIV prevention is also a key part of the Young Positives pageant, which displays condoms and promotes safe sex.

UNAIDS says about 6 percent of Ugandans are HIV-positive, one of the highest rates in East Africa. But there has been progress in Uganda’s fight against HIV. AIDS-related deaths dropped by nearly 60% in 2018, UNAIDS said.

 Beauty Pageant 2019-2020
Mr. and Miss Y+ Beauty Pageant 2019-2020 in Kampala Uganda. VOA

Reaching young teens and young adults is key to halting the spread of HIV, said Nelson Musoba of the Uganda AIDS Commission.

“It matters how the message is packaged and who carries this message,” he said. “And the current generation — fashion, music, working with celebrities is one way to transmit the message to the young people. And we find this very attractive. You can see the attention it’s generating; you can see the participation.”

Nineteen-year-old tailor Timothy Kabogoza and one of his five siblings were born HIV-positive. He said he tried to keep his status a secret, but his friends found out and started pointing fingers.

“And for real, I tried to cover up that thing,” he said. “But when I come back in my room, I’ll be like, ‘My God, this guy has said something, oh, my God’.”

ALSO READ: How to Take an HIV Test in Delhi?

But participation in the Young Positives beauty pageant boosted Kabogoza’s confidence. And, at this year’s contest, he took second place.

Kabogoza said he wants to pass on an upbeat message to other HIV-positive youth: Take your anti-retro viral medication — something he acknowledges he has not always been consistent about — and stop the self-shaming. (VOA)

Next Story

Reduction in Air Pollution May Increase Life-Expectancy: Study

Findings of a Research indicate almost immediate and substantial effects on health outcomes followed reduced exposure to air pollution

0
Pollution
Fortunately, reducing air Pollution can result in prompt and substantial health gains. Pixabay

Reductions in Air Pollution yielded fast and dramatic impacts on health-outcomes, as well as decreases in all-cause morbidity, a new study suggests.

The study, published in the journal Annals of the American Thoracic Society, reviewed interventions that have reduced air pollution at its source. It looked for outcomes and time to achieve those outcomes in several settings, finding that the improvements in health were striking.

Starting at week one of a ban on smoking in Ireland, for example, there was a 13 per cent drop in all-cause mortality, a 26 per cent reduction in ischemic heart disease, a 32 per cent reduction in stroke, and a 38 per cent reduction in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Interestingly, the greatest benefits in that case occurred among non-smokers.

“We knew there were benefits from pollution control, but the magnitude and relatively short time duration to accomplish them were impressive,” said lead author Dean Schraufnagel from the American Thoracic Society in the US.

“Our findings indicate almost immediate and substantial effects on health outcomes followed reduced exposure to air pollution. It’s critical that governments adopt and enforce WHO guidelines for air pollution immediately,” Schraufnagel added.

Pollution
Reductions in Air Pollution yielded fast and dramatic impacts on health-outcomes, as well as decreases in all-cause morbidity, a new study suggests. Pixabay

According to the researchers, In the US a 13-month closure of a steel mill in Utah resulted in reducing hospitalisations for pneumonia, pleurisy, bronchitis and asthma by half.

School absenteeism decreased by 40 per cent, and daily mortality fell by 16 per cent for every 100 µg/m3 PM10 (a pollutant) decrease.

Women who were pregnant during the mill closing were less likely to have premature births.

A 17-day ‘transportation strategy,’ in Atlanta, Georgia during the 1996 Olympic Games involved closing parts of the city to help athletes make it to their events on time, but also greatly decreased air pollution.

In the following four weeks, children’s visits for asthma to clinics dropped by more than 40 per cent and trips to emergency departments by 11 per cent. Hospitalizations for asthma decreased by 19 per cent.

WHO
Findings of the Study indicate almost immediate and substantial effects on health outcomes followed reduced exposure to air pollution. It’s critical that governments adopt and enforce WHO guidelines for air pollution immediately. Wikimedia Commons

Similarly, when China imposed factory and travel restrictions for the Beijing Olympics, lung function improved within two months, with fewer asthma-related physician visits and less cardiovascular mortality.

“Fortunately, reducing air pollution can result in prompt and substantial health gains. Sweeping policies affecting a whole country can reduce all-cause mortality within weeks,” Schraufnagel said.

ALSO READ: YouTube India to Focus on Regional Languages For Driving Creator Growth

Local programmes, such as reducing traffic, have also promptly improved many health measures, said the study. (IANS)