Can I get HIV when a mosquito bites an infected person and it bites me? Asiimwe Annet, 15, Nyakishenyi HS, Rukungiri No. You will not get HIV from a mosquito bite. When we first knew about HIV, we were worried that this was true. But, studies found out that it was not. HIV is a delicate virus. It dies quickly when it is outside the human body. It can't live inside the mosquitoes. Mosquitoes spread malaria. Sex is the most common way of spreading HIV. Dr Paul Semugoma, IHK

CIrCumCISIon IS Cool

Safe male

o. 2 Ap Vol. 18 N

012 ril- May 2

Students of Kaserem SS, Kapchorwa, say we are circumcised. We read from Straight Talk that circumcision reduces HIV transmission among males by 60%. However, circumcised men can still get HIV if they have unprotected sex with an infected person. So we are abstaining."

Students of Gamatui Girls, Kapchorwa say: "abstaining guards us against HIV"
relationship. Both of you will be advised on how to avoid re-infecting each other or passing on the virus if one of you has no HIV.

About 1.2 million people are living with HIV in Uganda. Of these, 30,000 are adolescents between 14 and 24 years. The majority were born with HIV. Just like any other

psychological, social and mental change. As they grow, they get attracted to the opposite sex, start relationships and even have sex. Most times, they do not know each other's HIV status or even their own.


Dr Zainab Akol from the ministry of health says: If you

r asked Have you eve ic to go h your guy or c HIV test? an with you for or she say? What did he you do? What did ight Talk Write to Stra2366 PO Box 2 Kampala
had HIV but they did not believe me. When I shared my story in Straight Talk, they believed me. My story helped three students to open up. We formed a post test club at school. We sensitize students about HIV and encourage those living with the virus to open up. I promise never to infect anyone. I'm abstaining.”


adolescents, they experience physical, emotional,

BN, 16, Dabani Girls School Busia, says: "I recently discovered

that I have HIV. I didn’t know until l went for a blood test. I have not told my boyfriend. He may faint. We have been having unprotected sex. Should I stop learning? " BN, discovering that you have HIV is shocking but don’t lose hope. Continue with your studies. With proper treatment and care, you can live a healthy life. Like BN, make the right decision to test for HIV. It is even better when you test with your partner before you start any sexual

have HIV and in a relationship, be responsible. Make your relationship safe by abstaining from sex. If you are sexually active, use condoms to avoid STIs and unwanted pregnancies. Condoms help you avoid infecting your partner or re-infecting yourself with more HIV or another type of HIV which may not respond to treatment. Disclosing your HIV status to your partner shows you love the person. Take your medication as advised by a doctor. If you decide to have a baby, make use of Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV services to reduce the chances of infecting your baby.

Guys know my HIV status
Azizuyo Brenda, 18, S6, Muni Girls SS Arua, was born with HIV. She says:

“Many boys wanted to fall in love with me. I told them that I

Bravo Azizuyo. Straight Talkers, regardless of your HIV status, you have a role in preventing HIV spread by: •Testing for HIV with your partner before you think of having sex • Disclosing your status • Using condoms every time you have sex • Delaying to have sex • Avoid gossiping about people living with HIV so that they are encouraged to open up and seek treatment.


2 Straight Talk, April-May 2012

t one point in life, you will meet a hot guy or chic. But wait a moment. Before you have sex, ask yourself, do I really know his/her HIV status? Test together and know together. Testing is the only way to know one's HIV status. Knowing your HIV status helps you make healthy choices. HIV Counselling and Testing is free in all government hospitals and health centres. Chemonges Latif, 22, S5, Kaserem SS, Kapchorwa, says: “I had a girlfriend but she chucked me. Some boys lied to her that I had another girl. When we were still together, we tested for HIV together. We were negative and chose to abstain.” M. Chebet 15, S2, Kawowo SS, Kapchorwa, says: “I tested for HIV with my boyfriend at Ngenge Health Centre. We are negative. We had protected sex after testing to avoid unwanted pregnancy." Chelangat Vaal. 18, S2, Sipi SS, Kapchorwa, says: "I don't have a boyfriend. When I get one we shall test together. Some people say they tested yet they have never." Dr Sabrina Kitaka, Mulago hospital says: If you are HIV positive, value other people’s lives the way you value yours. Use a condom during sex to avoid HIV or re-infection with a strong HIV virus


Know your body
Testicles won't burst when you abstain
Solomon 15, Gulu College It is not true that not having sex will cause accumulation of semen and make your testicles to burst. When a boy reaches puberty, the testis start making semen and sperms. If one does not play sex, the semen and sperms that have been made are re-absorbed back into the body. This is a natural process. It does not make you sick or feel bad. Delay sex. Early sex leads to school dropout, imprisonment, HIV/STDs and even death. Dr Paul Semugoma, IHK, Kampala

If a boy abstains for long, will the semen accumulate and make the testicles to burst?

Students of Kaserem SS, say: "Testing for HIV is a life saving decision everyone should make." that does not respond to the ARVs. Proper condom use also protects you from a pregnancy and other STDs. Jacquelyne Mugenyi, Programme Manager, Uganda Young Positives, says: I’m in a discordant relationship. I'm HIV positive but my partner is HIV negative. If you are in a discordant relationship, respect each other’s decisions. We use condoms so I do not infect my partner. a time when you may want to have children. There is a program called Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV which helps to identify pregnant women and offer services that minimise HIV from crossing to the baby. The National Coordinator of PMTCT program, ministry of health, Dr Godfrey Esiru, says: Under PMTCT, couples living with HIV are given ARVs for the rest of their life to reduce the risk of infecting their babies. They are advised to use condoms, attend antenatal care and give birth from hospitals and health centres which have trained doctors and midwives to assist women deliver well. At the same time, take care to avoid the virus from crossing to the child. The baby is given a syrup called Nevirapin to reduce the risk of getting HIV from the mother.

The HIV virus is not contained in the cells that make the child(sperms and ova). HIV crosses from an infected mother to the baby later during pregnancy, delivery or breast feeding. If you are in a relationship where one or both of you have HIV, there will come

It is possible for HIV positives to have babies free of HIV


ome of you live or study with young people with HIV Do not gossip about . them. Show them love and care. Daniel, 20, Gulu was born with HIV He says: "A classmate found . me getting treatment at TASO. He told my classmates. Students started laughing at me and giving me names like "moving dead body." I stopped going to class and TASO. I struggle buying Septrin from drug shops. I hate myself. I’m considering joining a bad group. I rather be killed by a bullet than AIDS." Sorry Daniel, even if everything around you seems meaningless, life is worth living. Continue getting treatment from TASO and stay healthy. Do not listen to people who make you feel bad. You can live long and achieve your dreams. Do not join any bad group. Find support and friends to talk to at Gulu Youth Centre. Straight Talkers, name calling, teasing, blaming, neglecting and gossiping about people with HIV shows that you are ignorant about how HIV is transmitted. Stigma increases the spread of HIV because it prevents people from testing, disclosing their status and going for treatment. It leads to denial, loneliness depression, anger, self-pity just like what Daniel is going through. Deaths from AIDS are preventable with ARVs. But when we call them names, many stop getting treatment. It is good that some of you are friends with people who have HIV. Nganda Phiona, 15, S3 Gamatui Girls Kapchorwa, says: "I have friends living with HIV. When they come home, we discuss together. They study from another school". Kisakye Joan, S2, St Margaret College, Kampala, used to share food with a friend who was HIV positive but later died. Joan is now worried. She asks whether HIV can be transmitted through food. You cannot get HIV from eating with a person who has HIV, hugging, holding or shaking hands, sharing basins, cups, plates and a desk. It was a good thing that you cared for a friend even when you knew she had HIV. Positive prevention of HIV/AIDS means caring and loving people living with HIV.

Ahereza Moreen, Ntungamo HS says" I feel happy when my friends are happy."

Straight Talk, April-May 2012


protects your partner S
aul Walugembe, 23, is the Project officer for Positive Prevention at Straight Talk Foundation. He was born with HIV but this did not stop him from going to school and being the best. He recently graduated from Kyambogo University with a degree in Development studies. Read on! I discovered I had HIV when I was 12 years. I was sickly. I lost my mother in 1996 when I was joining P2. Two years later Dad passed on. My maternal grandmother took me on and brought me up. One time, a project

clinic kept telling me that, I could accomplish my dreams if I stayed on medication. Two years later, I was put on ARVs. I still take them because they are my fuel for strength. It was hard to share my status with friends and teachers. I feared to be discriminated and isolated. But now I realise that disclosure relieves you of the burden and fear of HIV. It helps you find support, be confident, take medication without fear, get better and grow like any other person. When you start relating, disclosure helps you protect your partner from HIV and secure your children’s future. It’s normal for people with HIV to be in love. But keep your relationship healthy. Trust each other, protect yourselves from other diseases and avoid

supporting orphans and needy children started work in Banda village, Kampala. My grandmother approached them to help me. They referred me to Mulago Hospital to test for HIV. I tested positive. I was started on Septrin. I felt better. I asked my grandmother why I had to continue with medication. She took me to a meeting of children with HIV where a doctor talked about the importance of taking medicine daily. It was not easy but granny always reminded me to take my drugs on time. Friends at the

being re-infected with HIV. Share your status with your partner. I'm in a discordant relationship. I have HIV but my partner doesn't have. I disclosed to her. We are happy and plan to have a family. When she first got to know my status, she was disappointed and scared of losing me. We went for counselling. We promised to stay safe and always use protection. My mission is to help young people with HIV manage it and achieve their dreams. I did it, why not you!

Do you have questions for Saul? Send them to PO BOX 22366,Kampala

to Assess whenr disclose you hink HIV status. T rrent about your cu ss the e situation, ass might ou problems y isclosing. face when d benefits Think of the s of and problem disclosing.


n March, Straight Talk visited Kapchorwa. It was fun driving through the roads snaking through the hills. A cool breeze from Sipi Falls welcomed us to Kapchorwa town. Hey guys, thanks for the warm welcome! Straight Talkers shared stories and experiences on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). FGM is a ritual of passage from girlhood to womanhood among the Sabiny. It involves partial or complete removal of the clitoris. Some remove the labia minora or sew together the labia majora, covering the urethra and vagina while leaving a small opening of the passage of urine. In December of every even year, hundreds of Sabiny girls undergo the practice.

Straight talkers say NO to FGM
Dr Haruna Mwanje, Mulago hospital says: FGM leads to severe pain, death due to over bleeding, HIV transmission if one knife is used on more than one girl, infections when it is not done in a clean environment using clean tools. When giving birth, the scar tissue might tear or the opening needs to be cut to allow the baby to come out. This results into painful scar tissue. Because of these dangers, some Straight Talkers are making a change in Kapchorwa. Sande Kereen 18, S6, Sebei College, says: "I’m not 'circumcised'. I’m proud of it. I last witnessed a girl being cut in 2006. She was forced to lie on her back and spread her legs. Elderly women held her hands. Others stepped on her legs. Another woman came with a hook like knife and cut off her things. FGM is painful, demeaning and must be stopped.” Chemutai Elijah, 14, S3, Kawowo SS, Kapchorwa says:“FGM causes our sisters to over bleed, miss school or even die. I respect my culture but certain things are dangerous. Being a true Sabiny does not mean that girls should undergo such pain.” Namaleya Catherine, 13, S2, Sipi SS, says: “I come from Chema village. A certain girl was forced to be circumcised but she reported the parents to Police. The parents went into hiding.” Mashak Abdallah, teacher Kawowo SS, Kapchorwa says: "During FGM season, some students go into hiding for fear of being mutilated. Even those who undergo FGM stay home for long as they wait for the wounds to heal. Others don’t come back for fear

of being stigmatized. When I was young, I witnessed my two elder sisters being circumcised. It was a painful procedure. When I grew up, I pleaded with dad not to inflict similar pain on my two little sisters. He listened and they survived the cruel knife.” Chaka Kelvin, 18, S4, Kaserem SS Kapchorwa says: “I prefer girls who are not 'circumcised' to those who had their stuff cut off. I hear circumcised girls are not sweet. I also heard that circumcised women feel a lot of pain during childbirth." In 2010, Parliament of Uganda passed a law that criminalizes FGM. A person found practicing it can be imprisoned for 10 years or the rest of his/ her life. Straight Talkers, always say NO to harmful cultural practices and stay safe.

Vagina before FGM

Vagina after FGM

4 Straight Talk, April-May 2012

O. Bo x 22 36 22 P.P.O. Bo x A L 36 6 M P K AM P A L A A K A 6


I hate being an Acholi. I’m so dark. My friends say they can’t see me and I have a big nose that consumes a lot of oxygen. Akwi Mildrine, Dabani Girls School, Busia The only person who can make you feel special is YOU. Every individual

was made different and unique. You have special qualities that no one else has. Ask a friend to write down at least two things she likes about you. Take note of them. Look through a mirror and speak to your image. Tell yourself at least one good thing about yourself. Always look to

the bright side of life. When you feel good about yourself, you make wise decisions. I was in a single sex school since childhood. Recently, I joined a mixed school but I have a crush on most girls. Sometimes, I fail to concentrate. What can I do? T.M S4, Makerere Competent, Hoima. T.M, crushes are normal but they do not mean you should have sex. Sometimes, your heart may pound very first and you feel breathless and dizzy at the sight of a certain girl or boy. You think it must be love. But when you get to know that boy or girl, the feelings suddenly disappear and you no longer feel attracted to that person. It was a crush. Remember it all starts from the mind, so keep your mind busy. Join a football club, drama, volley ball or an activity that will keep you busy. Try to interact with girls and take them as your sisters.” My boyfriend always asks for sex but whenever I tell him to use a condom, he says it doesn’t fit him. What can I do? Afuwa Namukwaya, Buyamba SS,18 Rakai May be your boyfriend wants to use that as an excuse of not using a condom. Talk to him about how you feel. If he doesn’t listen, give him a break. The urge to have sex is normal but you need to think through, is it the right time? With the right person? What if I get pregnant or an STD? Am I ready for a baby? What about my studies?

I had sex but after the boy chucked me. My friends say I didn’t know the techniques. Is it true? O.J, St Claire Girls School, Budaka It is not true that you lacked techniques. That boy only wanted sex from you and when he got it, he saw no need of staying with you. Did you have unprotected sex? Go for an HIV test and know your status. Practice secondary virginity. You can’t change what happened. Walk with your head held high. Don’t listen to what your friends say. Learn from it.” My friends say a boy with a long penis can easily make a girl pregnant. Is this true? Businge Wilber, Biso-War Memorial, Buliisa Businge, have you been trying to make a girl pregnant? It is not true that it is easy for a boy with a long penis to impregnate a girl. Penis size doesn’t matter. Whether short, long, big or small, a boy can still make a girl pregnant anytime they have unprotected sex. Delay sex to avoid pregnancy and HIV worries.

ST Club members of St Francis SS for the Blind, Soroti say: “ Disability is not inability. We have a right to education.”

ST Club members of St Charles Lwanga SS Koboko, say : “Straight Talk gives us information that helps us stay safe. Keep it up.”

Published letters win ST T-shirts

In Straight Talk NOV-DEC 2011, Zalwango, Mpenja SS, said: There is a man who was a friend of my father. When my father died, he told me that it was my father’s wish th at he marries me. Over 100 of you advised Joyce.

Advice to Zalwang o
Atim Susan,16, s4, Panyangos SS, Nebb i, says: “Report him to Police station. He may rape you and infect yo u with HIV or make you pregnant and take off . Don’t listen to his trash. ” Daniel Ainamanyi,16 ,S3, Ruhaama SS, Ntunga mo, says: “Report him to yo ur relatives. If he was your father’s true friend, he would encourage you to stay in school for a bright future.” Ngobi David, S6, To wn SS, Bugiri, says: “Lov View e is not forced. Be patient. Go d will get you a responsible man after your studies.”

Counsellors: Dr Paul Semugoma IHK, Liz Okello, counselor and teacher Gayaza HS and Jane Nambafu, STF

Science corner:
You can get pregnant any time you have sex
Is it true that if a girl who is menstruating washes her vagina with coca-cola soda and plays sex won’t get pregnant? Chemonges
Abdulhalik, Kawowo SS, Kapchorwa. Has your girlfriend been trying to do that? This is dangerous. It is not true that when a girl who is menstruating washes her vagina with coca cola and plays sex won’t get pregnant. The sperm will still look for a girl’s egg and fertilize it. Some women and girls ovulate during menstruation. Adolescent girls are still undergoing body changes and their cycle is irregular. They can get pregnant even when they have irls, sex while menstruating. A girl can also Boys and gve sex get pregnant when she plays sex in ha would you one older water, washes her vagina, urinates, e with som y 10 years? jumps immediately after sex, or when she plays sex during menstruation. than you b y you would Besides, they are no safe days for HIV/ Explain wh ld not. or wou ight Talk AIDS. You can get infected any time you have unprotected sex with an Write to Stra2366, infected person. PO Box 2 la Delay sex and stay safe. Kampa

Ikilai Vivian, Compr ehensive College Kitetikka,W akiso says: “Don’t accept. This ma n wants to use you and dump you lik e garbage. After all, he knows you are an orphan.”


Jack, Uringi SS in Nebbi says: I have an ex-girlfriend whom at first I had trust and love for her. I later chucked her when I learnt that she was cheating on me. But my friends are advising me to go back for the same girl. What can I do?
Straight talk FOUNDatiON

Please advise Jack

Newsletter reviewed by Dr godfrey Esiru, Ministry of health.

4 Acacia Ave, PO Box 22366, Kampala (U) tel: 0312-262030/1, E-mail: info@., Web:, Executive Director: Susan ajok, Editorial Manager: M akello, Editors: J. Nafula, F. Ouma, P kiwuuwa, J. abongowath, Chief Designer: MB. kalanzi, Designers: gB Mukasa, g. turibamwe Funded by CSF .

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