Uganda Young Positives (UYP), Uganda
Sam Ocen has passion and expertise in programming and research in Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (ASRHR). He is an HIV and AIDS Fellow of Makerere University School of Public Health, and holds Msc. Population and Reproductive Health (PRH). He was the Principal Investigator of the PHDP study in Uganda. He worked alongside Population Council and GNP+. He is a member of the National Monitoring and Evaluation TWG of Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC) and the Technical Working Group (TWG) on Adolescent Health at the Ministry of Health. He participated at the Youth Leadership-1 programme, an esteemed Global programme, organized and facilitated by the US Department of State. He has been revewer of abstracts submitted by youth to the IAS International HIV conferences for over five years.
Introduction: PHDP is a Global Policy Framework that highlights the importance of placing persons living with HIV at the center of managing HIV, their health and wellbeing. Studies have been done globally, but this being the first specifically focused on adolescents and YPLHIV. The purpose of this study was to assess the extent to which the PHDP approach is espoused in Uganda among YPHLIV. This study provided a baseline against which the effect of advocacy interventions to promote PDHP approach in Uganda will be measured. Methods: 275 YPLHIV were selected using non-random purposive sampling techniques from the districts of Gulu and Iganga and interviewed using structured questionnaire. Data was collected using tablets, managed using ACCESS and STATA packages. Findings: 46% viewed HIV prevention as a shared responsibility. 30% didn’t have ART in the areas where they lived and for those who accessed ART, 44% took 2 to 4 hours to get to their regular health care center. 13% never had CD4 count taken primarirly because they did not know. 30% could not disclose their status for fear of being left by partners. 19% used substances in form of drugs yet there was no drug rehabilitation center at all (0%). Only 10.5% knew of any laws protecting them and their rights and 72% couldn’t access free legal services. 59% experienced Gender violence, yet 54% of whom didn’t know of organizations providing support in this area. Conclusions and recommendations: Being an advocacy focused operatoinal study, there is need to empower YPLHIV with knowledge and information on policies to enable them demand for health services, address stigma and discrimination, for them to prevent HIV and other communicable diseases. YPLHIV need to be meaningfuly engaged in policy and program development for improved comprehensive HIV/SRH information and services.