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Thursday 13 July 2006
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UGANDA: New board game makes HIV education fun

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

©  WHO

The board game teaches the youth the dangers of risky sexual conduct

KAMPALA, 3 July (PLUSNEWS) - Rather than preaching HIV/AIDS prevention messages to students, the government has unveiled a board game warning of the dangers of careless sexual behaviour.

Throw a '1' and you will be advised to "always wear a condom if you have to have sex" before moving forward two spaces.

"Mother-to-child HIV infection can be prevented if the disease is diagnosed early enough. If you think you might be pregnant, seek qualified medical advice". Wait a turn.

"We face the reality of young people being bombarded with HIV/AIDS messages and information throughout their education, so the challenge now is to come up with new forms of packaging; more entertaining ways of disseminating the information," said Aggrey Kibenge, deputy HIV coordinator in the ministry, adding that although students in secondary schools and vocational training institutes were the target audience, even primary school children could benefit.

The game, produced by the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), in conjunction with Uganda's Ministry of Education and Sports, follows the government's 'ABC' strategy of Abstain, Be faithful, use a Condom, which has won international praise for bringing down the HIV prevalence rate from a high of over 20 percent to its current level of about six percent.

However, infection rates have stagnated over the last five years. A 2004-05 national survey found an overall adult prevalence of 6.4 percent, compared with 6.1 percent in 2000 and 6.2 percent in 2002.

The main emphasis on preventing HIV has been promoting behaviour change among the youth. Government statistics released ahead of the recent UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS revealed that 25 percent of Ugandans have had sex by the age of 15, while more than 80 percent have lost their virginity by the age of 20.

Figures from the 2005 Uganda AIDS Indicator Survey by the Ministry of Health showed a prevalence rate among girls aged 15 to 19 of 2.7 percent, with 0.3 percent for boys in the same age group.

Up to six players make their way around the board, encountering a variety of situations regarding sexual behaviour and HIV/AIDS. "You might be HIV positive but do not know it", go back two spaces.

It is hoped the 'cause and effect' situations will help to leave the important messages they carry deeply ingrained in the players' minds. The informal learning experience stimulates discussion, breaking down barriers to and taboos on discussing reproductive health that lead often to risky behaviour as a result of ignorance.

"Participation encourages dialogue, which is not common in our education system, and in doing so moves away from the traditional sense of being told by the teacher how to behave," said Fiona Musana, of GTZ's Programme of Employment Oriented Vocation Training.

GTZ is distributing the game to over 2,500 secondary schools, as well as vocational, technological and business institutions and other private training centres.


Recent UGANDA Reports
HIV takes root in remote, unprepared Karamoja,  10/Jul/06
Staff shortages hampering HIV/AIDS care in Kitgum,  21/Jun/06
Challenges of resettlement for HIV-positive displaced,  20/Jun/06
Condom shortage in north affecting HIV prevention efforts,  15/Jun/06
Living positively in war-ravaged northern camps,  9/Jun/06
· AIDS Media Center
· The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
· International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS
· International HIV/AIDS Alliance

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