Positive action to combat HIV

Saturday 28th September marked the second Community Health Day that Volunteer Uganda held in Kanungu.

In a guest post, here is what volunteers Jake and Amy had to say about the day:

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The sun was the strongest it has been in three weeks. Volunteers steadily entered the breakfast room. Fuelled by half a jungle of bananas we formed an assembly of HIV warriors prepared to occupy Kanungu Town for the afternoon.

Decked out in our matching red VU t-shirts and armed with 200 HIV tests, 400 condoms and armfuls of posters, we headed to Kanungu at 11:30am to start our day.

Since the summer of 2010 when VU first partnered with Mend the Broken Hearts of Uganda and launched VU’s HIV/AIDS outreach programme we have informed, supported and tested thousands of students in local Secondary Schools.

However, today the message goes regional as VU combines forces with Reproductive Health Uganda, Uganda Red Cross and Mend the Broken Hearts on a busy market day in Kanungu Taxi Park. With tents and banners decorating the square, members of the community rolled in, absorbing the days message that together we can get the rate of new HIV infections to Zero.

We had several stands sharing information, from true and false facts about the HIV virus to how to prevent catching the virus, from condom demonstration to positive living. We also had HIV positive councillors who were on hand to offer advice and support.

The highlight of the day by far was when people came and showed us their negative test results. It is not often you see people so happy; one lady was dancing around and gave hugs and high fives to every single one of us. She didn’t speak a word of English but her smiles were infectious.

By 2.30pm we had used all 200 HIV tests. Anyone who was tested received free counselling regardless of their result. 6 radio announcements, 1 truck, 3 tents, 5 information stalls, 1 condom demonstration booth, 10 wooden penis’, 400 condoms, 18 health workers, 200 FREE HIV tests, 10 blood donors, 1 GIANT AIDS Ribbon, 5 Team leaders and 18 AWESOME volunteers later, Volunteer Uganda had interacted with over 500 members if the community over one busy, rewarding, once in a life time afternoon.

It was a really great day which we all enjoyed. When we got back to the VU lodge we had a celebratory BBQ, which proved that, regardless of where they are in the world, if a group of Brits try to have a BBQ, it will pour down! But having had such a great afternoon, nothing could dampen our spirits.

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