HIV basics

HIV moVes to towards a wHIte blood cell wItH a cd4 marker

o.9 Sep Vol.15 N

tember 2


"Pulling" of the vaginal lips


HIV and STDs: When HIV enters your body, for example, in the semen of a boy with HIV, you may not get infected. The millions of virus in the ejaculate may "float" in the girl's genital tract and slowly die off, having not found a home. But if one of those millions of viruses locates a white blood cell with a CD4 marker on its surface and enters inside that cell, infection ocurs. A person with an STD has more CD4 cells in their genitals. This is one reason why STDs raise the chances of HIV infection.
Nasir Musoke, Training Officer, AIC

is a cherished part of sexuality in some Ugandan cultures. Straight Talk wants to understand it better: Tell us your pulling stories. Write to PO Box 22366, K'la, and win a prize. Guiding questions: When did you pull, why, how and with whom? What happened? Is there a connection between pulling, HIV, marriage and a good life? What is the purpose of pulling?

The first ST Youth Conference took place at Kitante PS on 16 August with 32 Straight Talk Clubs from Kampala, Mukono and Wakiso. It was hot! Students competed in poetry, music, dance and drama. Thanks to Naguru Teenage Centre and Uganda Blood Bank, 69 students tested for HIV and 15 donated blood. All students who tested were HIV negative. Guys, keep it that way. Namakwa SS, Mukono, was overall winner and had the best poem. • St Janan Luwum, Kampala: first runner up • Kitante Hill: second runner up • Bukoto HS, Kampala, best drama skit • Kojja SS, Best Song • UYWEFA, best dance. Watch for an ST convention in your area! If you won a diary in 2009, write and tell us how you used it. Girls, did it help you to keep track of your periods? Send letters to PO Box 22366, K'la SCHOOL Kisiki College, Namutumba. You sent in 41 letters! Well done. You win a football and netball. Wherever you are, write to Straight Talk, P O Box 22366, Kampala.

Rocking with stRaight talk

Our Safe
Well, it is term three. Straight Talk prays that you are back at school safe after the holidays. For those of you who could not raise school fees, be strong. Try to earn some money now: you can do it! Candidates, get down to work. Over one hundred Straight Talkers wrote to us about their holidays. Most of you help your parents and work for money. Lenard Wafula from Benedictine Vocational and Production Centre, Tororo, wrote: "I worked as a plumber and used the money to buy fruits for my mother who has HIV. I felt good listening to her life stories. They help me abstain from sex. Leonard, thanks for being there for your mother. KS of Duhaga SS, Hoima, wrote: "I walked home smartly after passing in division one. During holidays, I met a boy who continuously bargained for a love affair. He reached to the extent of asking to have sex with me. But because of wanting to become a nurse, I got courage to know the outcome. So the holidays were not bad to me and I was safe." Straight Talk Counselor Faith Falal, a mother of three teenagers, says: "Holiday is a time to build useful friendships. If you hang out, go to safe places. Keep off alcohol and sex. Invite your friends home. Your parents will be happy to meet them."

Hot boys from Luzira SS do the Back Street pose at the ST conference



Are you already having SEX or planning to start? You MUST TEST with your partner. GO TOGETHER for free HIV testing & counselling at any AIDS INFORMATION CENTRE in Arua, Lira, Soroti, Mbale, Jinja, Kampala, Mbarara, Kabale. Offer lasts for the next six months.

Luzira SS students do their strokes


2 Straight Talk, September 2009

Use holidays to add value to your life
"Holiday is a time to work hard. It is the time when you see that things are not free but worked for," says Biira Gedi, ST Lukhonzo radio journalist. • Respect home rules. If your parents want you home at a particular time, be home. • If you go out, tell them where you are going. Parents worry about your wellbeing. It is not about controlling you. • Do house chores. It is not a punishment but teaches you self-reliance.• Let what you do in your holiday add value to your life, family and community.

us work willingly and not stress our parents. They are already stressed looking for our school fees. Nawawi Suduki, Kiryassaaka SS, Masaka, says: "I was with my sick grandmother and helped her with work. She gave me a nice T-shirt, a pair of bed sheets and blessed me." Beautiful. You put a smile on your grandmother's face. Komakech Rogers, S4, City SS, Wakiso, says: “Books were my number one priority. I had a girlfriend but we separated when I discovered that she was cheating on me. I went for an HIV test and was negative. I’m now abstaining.” Thanks, for resting without rusting. Stay in charge of your life. Auderut Tereza, head girl, Benedictine Vocational Centre, Tororo, says: "I distilled waragi . It is a dirty job but I made money for personal requirements. This prevented me from begging from relatives and friends who could take advantage of my situation." Thanks, Auderut. But watch out for brewing. You may meet drunk men who want to have sex with you. Some may try to rape you. Look for another job next holiday. Brenda Nakintu, 15, S1, Namutumba Central HS, Busembatia, says: "I went to my aunt's where very many boys wanted me to be in love with them. I refused by not moving at night to avoid being raped by them. Yes, I stayed safe by staying at home to avoid sexual intercourse, bad peer groups and watching blue movies.” Brenda, keep being strong so that you complete S6: 15 is really too young for sex, and those boys were not serious.

Holiday makers learn how to do hairdressing and welding at Uganda Youth Development Link Centre, Masooli, Gayaza road

Winners of The Colour Purple
Writers of the letters published in this ST about their holdiays win this wonderful novel.

Prossy, Benedictine Vocational Training and Production Centre, Tororo, says: "I was a ‘cow girl’. I looked after animals, milked and sold the milk. Many boys and girls laughed at me saying that I will never get married because ‘I smelt like animals’. I was not bothered by their ignorance. From these animals, I pay my school fees, buy books, pens and get pocket money. Most of the boys and girls who laughed at me are suffering." Great work, Prossy! Focus on your goal. Bwire Wilber, 19, S5, Lumino HS, Busia, says: "I made charcoal to meet my requirements. I have a motto that keeps me active. 'What have I done today that will make my tomorrow sweet.'" Good motto, Wilber. Plant trees to replace those you cut. Learn about efficient charcoal making methods from Tree Talk. Wandera Denis, 16, S2, Bukalikha SS, Busia, says: "I helped out with tasks without being asked. My parents were happy and bought me a dictionary. They promised to take me to the source of River Nile, if I perform well next term.” Way to go, Wandera. Let

Readers are leaders. Sharpen your understanding of the world by reading deeply and widely every chance you get.

Diary of a young positive
Jane, 19, was born with HIV. Each month she updates us on how she is doing. "In September I went to Gulu, Kitgum, Amuru, Adjumani and Moyo to set up young positives groups at all the ST youth centres. You guys out there, go and sign up. It is going to be fun and supportive. I met a young positive at Adjumani Hospital. She was feeling so sick she could hardly speak. She could not believe that I had HIV. But I was once as sick as her. I asked her to be my friend. When I remember when I was sick, its painful. My relatives got tired of me. Everyone lost hope of me living. My aunt would not come to my room. She was scared that I would die. Today she is proud of me. But she is scared of testing for HIV. She is waiting to see if she will fall sick. But testing when you fall sick is dangerous because by then your immunity is too weak. You take long to respond to medicine, if at all you don’t die. You will take many pills of different types. The earlier you test, the better. If I had been tested early, I wouldn’t have gone through all that pain. LETTERS TO JANE I am positive but I can’t tell anyone in our school coz they will isolate me. Girl, S5, Masaka Disclosure (telling others) is a a setp by step process. First examine your friend’s reactions towards people living with HIV. Tell them an indirect story of someone you know who has HIV. If their reaction is bad, talk to them about the love and support people with HIV need. Disclosure sets you free. Talk with your counsellor for more guidance. Straight Talkers, any questions for Jane? Write to: PO Box, 22366, Kampala

Poem: Give the world your best
Mother Teresa was a nun who did great work with the poor and homeless in Calcutta, India. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Born in former Yugoslavia in 1910, Mother Theresa took her vows as a nun in 1931. She died in 1997. She is a hero. Some people say she will become saint. Adolescents worry a lot about their peers. But in this poem Mother Teresa advises us not to over think about the bad thoughts of others. Life is not between you and them, it is between you and your God.
By Mother Theresa

People are often unreasonable; forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of hidden motives; be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends; succeed anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you; be honest anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; build anyway. If you find happiness, they may be jealous; be happy anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway. Give the world your best anyway. You see, it is between you and God; it is not between you and them anyway.

Straight Talk, September 2009

When holidays end in pregnancy or a relationship which disrupts your studies...
Girls, holidays are fun. But you have to face reality. There will be boys who hit on you. It is a fact: it happens. So you must be prepared to take a stand. Best is if you say: "No, no, no, no, no". Second best is if you say: "Only with a condom". Sadly, every holiday many girls do neither. Instead they have unprotected sex and become pregnant. Your pregnancy gets detected a few months after you get back from school. The Ministry of Education supports pregnancy checks at school. Says ministry spokesman Aggrey Kibenge: "We encourage health checkups including pregnancy tests by schools to ensure kids are safe all the time. It should be done regularly and not only when children are coming from holidays". Here are two stories of girls who got problems in their holdiays.


Just acting:

Kitante Hill School ST club members in a drama on early pregnancy at the ST Youth Convention.

mannered and from an educated family. She said: ‘He is the right choice among all the boys in this village conning you.’ Everytime I visited my sister, boys would con me. I accepted to love Mark. We went to his home. I refused sex without a condom but he searched his suitcase and found none. So we had unprotected sex. I strongly suspected I was pregnant. I cried and told my sister. She felt guilty. When I told Mark, he was excited. This made me very angry. I went back to school for my first term in S3. I was restless and confused. The school medical check-up did not detect the pregnancy because it was just a month old. I told a friend who was day scholar. She asked me for 9000/- for pills for aborting. She told me to take one everyday for a week. Nothing happened. Then she brought herbs. I took one cup per day for three days. Again nothing happened. I was frustrated. I had to do exams amid my troubles. The end of term medical examination discovered my pregnancy. The school asked my uncle to come. When I saw him, I cried. I had let him down. Girl, 16
Readers, "Girl, 16" delivered and is now back in school, and settling in.

Stupid relationship "I was in S2 holiday when a friend ‘arranged’ me a boyfriend. He was a 'celeb' at school so I did not resist. But my heart soon got broken when another girl hugged and pecked my ‘boyfriend’ in front of me. It affected my studies. Everybody wondered what happened to me. I am a brilliant girl." Kyanyalano Justine, S5, Kibibi SS, Mpigi I accepted sex with him "My parents died when I was 15 and

in S2. I left the village to live with my uncle in Kampala and study at a boarding school. During third term holidays, I went to the village to stay with my big sister, who got married in P7 after getting pregnant. There was a boy who for over a year had been telling me: ‘You are the most beautiful girl I have ever seen.’ Up

to then I had not given in. This time he passed through my sister, telling her that he loved me and wanted to marry me after his studies. He was in his final year in a Teachers’ Training College. My sister supported him. saying he was good


Who is your hero, that person you admire and want to be like? Write to: PO Box 22366, Kampala. The best story wins The Mammoth Book of Heroes.

You can become pregnant: • The first time you have sex • Before you have ever seen your first menstrual period • At any point during your menstrual cycle. • If you have sex standing up. • If you jump after sex. • Even if the boy pulls out (withdraws his penis) before he ejaculates • Even if you wash the vagina after sex.

Pregnancy facts

Unprotected sex is one of the most dangerous behaviours a young person can do. Dr Stephen Watiti of Mildmay says young people should be taught to have sex with a condom and they should be told to never have sex without a condom until they want to get a baby. What do you think? Write to ST, PO Box 22366, K'la.

KNOW YOUR BODY - Painful erections
Iam abstaining but sometimes I feel pain when my penis erects. What causes that. Matsiko N, 18, S2, Kabezi SS, Ntungamo The penis is like a balloon. Inside, it has sponge-like tissue. During erection, blood is pumped into the penis at high pressure. When filled it expands and becomes hard. A normal erection is painless. It lasts less than 30 minutes. After ejaculation (release of sperms), the erection goes down. If there is pain when there is an erection, or if it continues for more than four hours, see a doctor immediately. Pain is the body’s way of showing that there is something wrong. Causes of painful erections l Wounds due to STDs or circumcision. l tight foreskin that becomes A tighter during erections. This problem may be solved by circumcision. l When frenulum, (a small piece of skin joining the foreskin to the penis head) is too short. l Scars and injury to the inside tissues of penis which stop the penis from filling well with

blood. l Prolonged erections due to use of illegal drugs like marijuana (bhangi, weed) and cocaine and blood diseases such as Sickle Cell disease. Look after your penis well. It is an important part of your life. Treasure it and do not expose it to unsafe environments. Dr. Paul Semugoma

4 Straight Talk, September 2009

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HIV CHALLENGE TO DOCTORS Why is HIV not curable, yet other STDs like gonorrhea, syphilis, candida and genital warts are curable? Niwamanya Elijah, St Mary’s College, Kabale Doctors always continue to study diseases, looking for new and better cures. HIV is a very new disease. It has been known for only 26 years. Doctors have found some drugs which control HIV, but we are not yet able to cure it. We continue to research and study it. You never know, it might be you who


studies and gives us the cure for HIV, cancers, and other often incurable diseases. That would be fantastic, wouldn’t it? By the way, genital warts, which are caused by a virus, are not always curable. Protect your private parts. MOOD SWINGS How do body changes influence the decisions of teenagers? Ajok B, 15, Post Test Club, Gulu Youth Centre During our teen years, our bodies go through many changes. They come one by one, and in different people, they come at different times. These changes affect our thinking. Many teenagers have swinging moods. They may feel happy and full of energy at one time. Soon after, they feel down and tired. The urge to have sex or sexual drive may come out very

strongly. All this is natural and normal, part of growing up. Engage in productive activity to keep your brain busy. Remember you have the ability to make safe decisions. VIOLENT THREATS There is a boy who told me that he loves me but I refused. Whenever I meet him, he wants to rape me!Nambaluka H, 15, S1, Kibibi College SS, Mpigi This is serious because the boy is ready to use force or violence. If someone says they love you and yet they want to rape you or force you to love them, then they are lying. Tell someone you trust like a teacher or your parents to talk to the boy. At the very least, they must know what is happening. This

may help to protect you and prevent anything bad happening. You will be OK. YOU MATTER MORE THAN THE GROUP How can I avoid bad peer groups? Akuron S, Tororo Girls SS Friends are good. They help you learn how to live with other people, help you through problems, and help you discuss issues and live a better life. But friends can also be a bad influence. Always remember that you are important. What you think is always important. Do not allow yourself to do something which you think is wrong, just because your friends want to do it. You can say NO when necessary. If your friends insist on doing something which you know is wrong, think seriously about them not being your friends. You matter more than the group. Counsellor: Dr Paul Semungoma, International Hospital Kampala

Getting close but staying safe. Straight Talkers share thoughts. What are they saying?

The ST convention on 16 August. Straight Talkers are dancers! Dance every chance you get.

“Success comes from hard work and dedication. Apply the best of yourself to the task at hand.” Omondi Geofrey, ST radio fan, Bugiri

New Straight Talk centres for you
On 3 August Straight Talk opened youth centres in Amuru (near Anaka Hosp), Adjumani (near Maci Internet Cafe) and Moyo (near medical quarters). Go for games, group talks, and reading. Get counselling on your questions and crises. At the ST centres in Gulu and Kitgum, you get all of the above plus VCT, Family Planning and STD treatment. All centres open 9-6 Mon-Sat. Young positives always welcome. Girls, ST centres will support you after rape. Special programmes in Amuru: • Child mothers Fri 3-4 • Young men’s forum Fri 3-4 • Girls’ special day Wed 3-4 • Parents’ forum Thurs 4-5 • • Teachers’ forum Fri 3-4 Children’s day Sat 9-12.

Quiz: Advice to Joseph
In Straight Talk July, Joseph told us: “My parents died of HIV. They left a big house in my name. My uncle wants it. He says I have HIV, although he has not taken me for testing.” Readers. thanks for your great advice. These letters win T shirts. Kalyegira J, 19, S5, Kololo SSS, Kampala says: You have the right to own property whether or not you have HIV. Discuss with your uncle. If he refuses, inform your family elders, church leaders, police. Allelua P, 20, Uganda Technical College, Kichwamba says: Report

the matter to your LC1 Chairman. Mugaba S, 24, S6, Mpanga SS, Kabarole says: HIV is not a death sentence. Your uncle wants to steal your house. Report him to the Human Rights Commission near you if he continues to disturb you. Keep the evidence that shows that the house was left in your names.

NEW QUIZ My boyfriend tickles

Amuru: Akena, Stephen, Beatrice, Bongomin, Patrick

Did a Mvule Trust scholarship help you complete S4 or S6 in 2008? If so, tell us your news. Are you in school, working, married? Send your stories to: Mvule Trust, 22366, Kampala. There may be other educational chances for you.

me and wants to have sex with me. I do not want to lose my virginity yet I also love him very much. In fact he’s my life. Please do not tell me to leave him. What do I do? YD, S4, St Aloysious College, Nyapea, Nebbi

Straight talk FOUNDatiON 4 Acacia Ave PO Box 22366, Kampala (U) Tel: 0312-262030/1 E-mail:, Web:, President: C Watson, Exec Director: J Wiltshire, Director Print: T Agutu, Editorial Manager: M Akello, Editors: F Ouma, G Awekofua, J Abongowath, P Kiwuuwa, Writer: J Nafula, Chief Designer: M eB Kalanzi, Designers: GB Mukasa, Allan. B. Dentine, Funded by Civil Society Fund, DANIDA, DFID, SIDA, Irish Aid, USAID