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Uganda: Africans Helping Africans to Live With and Learn About HIV


Ugandan community facilitators lead a workshop that discusses HIV prevention.
Sharing experiences and lessons between programs and countries can be an effective way to expand social change. Recently, World Education supported two members of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), a South African grassroots advocacy organization by and for people living with HIV, to work with a similar Ugandan organization on effective advocacy strategies and treatment literacy training. Advocacy strategies are ways that groups work to get their needs, causes, and rights addressed in their communities and countries. In this case, advocacy is focused on access to antiretroviral therapy (ART), the life-extending and enhancing combinations of medicines for people with HIV and AIDS. The goal of the exchange is for Ugandans to learn from the experiences of their South African counterparts, whose tireless efforts have brought ARTs to many of those in need in their country.

Almost as important as having access to these life-saving medications is knowing how to use them. 'Treatment literacy' is about making sure that people understand all the information about medicines, including the importance of taking medicine on schedule, side effects they may experience from medicines, and how to handle new infections they might get because of weakened immune systems. Frank Rwekikomo, who is coordinating the TAC visit to Uganda, explained the importance of treatment literacy: "People need to understand the benefits they will have if they follow the treatment instructions. It can make the difference in their health and how long they live."

The hope is that the Ugandan organization, known as the National Forum of People Living with HIV/AIDS network, will use the skills and knowledge they gain from TAC to better care for themselves and others who are living with HIV and AIDS in Uganda, so that they can all live longer, healthier and more productive lives.