Sexuality of young people perinatally infected with HIV:
A neglected element in HIV/AIDS programming in Uganda
Birungi,Harriet; Mugisha,John Frank; Nyombi,Juliana K.
Exchange on HIV/AIDS, Sexuality and Gender 3 7-9
Publication date: 2007
In HIV/AIDS treatment, care and support programming, concern for the vulnerability of young people toHIV infection tends to overwhelm some of the more positive realities of sexuality, which is an equallyimportant part of growing up. In Uganda and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, wide programmaticgaps exist in addressing sexual and reproductive health needs of young people perinatally infected withHIV who are now growing into adolescents and adults. The almost exclusive focus on the negativeimplications of HIV tends to hinder initiation of programmes aimed at addressing the sexual desires ofyoung people living with HIV. This problem is compounded by the false assumption that young people(10-19 years) living with HIV in Africa may be too few to justify targeted programming and a reluctanceto acknowledge that it is natural for them to have sexual needs and desires and to act upon them. Manyyoung people living with HIV aspire to be just like their peers who are HIV negative. Therefore, it canonly be anticipated that these young people as well desire to explore their sexuality and appreciate theopportunity to talk and ask questions about it.
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