On December 1, communities around the world came together to recognize World AIDS Day.
World AIDS Day was created to honor those we’ve lost, celebrate the progress we’ve made, and reinvigorate the fight for an HIV-free generation. Alive Medical Services recognized the event through a number of different initiatives, including three major outreaches, a month-long campaign with Galaxy FM, appearances on television and radio, and the launch of a donation box drive.
Starting in November, AMS teamed up with Galaxy FM to raise awareness around HIV. Every day, these messages were aired three times, and each week, we focused on a different theme. After discussing the importance of adherence, overcoming stigma as an HIV-positive youth, and staying healthy in a discordant relationship, the campaign culminated in a call to action, which encouraged listeners to get tested for HIV.
This radio campaign reached 10 million people, not only in Kampala, but in Entebbe, Wakiso, Jinja, Mpigi, Luwero, and several other areas.
On World AIDS Day, Alive Medical Services set up an outreach at Galaxy FM headquarters in Kansanga. We tested over 150 individuals for HIV, providing them with counselling services before and after their tests and linking those who tested positive to care.
A patient smiles after getting tested for HIV at our Galaxy FM outreach.
On the same day, AMS held another outreach at Total Uganda’s head office in Namuwongo, where we tested over 65 of Total’s employees. Prior to the testing, an AMS doctor, counsellor and patient engaged in a panel discussion about dealing with HIV at home. They also discussed the importance of men getting tested and treated for HIV, as oftentimes, stigma, work hours, and a lack of awareness stop men from visiting the clinic.
Later that afternoon, an AMS doctor gave a health talk to 200 people from key populations.
Leading up to World AIDS Day, we worked to spread health messages through radio and television. Almost every day, we had a different member of our staff on air, appearing on X FM, Galaxy FM, NTV, Capital FM, and Urban TV.
On Monday, an AMS doctor discussed HIV and access to health care; on Tuesday, two of our youth clients talked about stigma, and the challenges of growing up with HIV. On Wednesday, an AMS counsellor and a youth patient delved into the difficulty of adhering to medication while at boarding school, and provided suggestions for teachers and school administrators to better support their HIV positive students.
The weekend was also filled with a flurry of activity: AMS delivered donation boxes to 10 new partners, all of whom will be collecting donations for AMS throughout the month of December. Recognizing that many of our clients are struggling to lift their families out of poverty – and thus, have difficulty paying for their children’s school fees – we will use their donations to build a library for the HIV-positive children in our care.
Our partners for the donation box drive include Goodlife Pharmacy, BBROOD Uganda, Aristoc Bookstore, and Guardian Health, among many others. Donation boxes can be found throughout Kampala at 20 different locations. *
We also had three more radio and television appearances over the weekend, including a question and answer session led by an AMS doctor, a brief on water purification, and a discussion on mother-to-child transmission of HIV and updates in children’s antiretroviral medication.
* Visit any of our partners’ stores to donate to Alive Medical Services’ library project. Our full list of partners include: Guardian Health, Café Kawa, Epiphania Pharmacy, Embassy Supermarket, C&A Pharmacy, Goodlife Pharmacy, Aristoc Booklex, Café Pap, Friecca Pharmacy, and BBROOD Uganda. Donation boxes can be found at the front of each of our partners’ stores!