Vivian Alice Nabanoba and Hillary Niwamanya are crowned respectively Miss Y + and Mr Y + 2018/19.
PIC: the winners of this year's competition – Niwamanya and Nabanoba. (Courtesy photo)
The grand finale of the Y + Beauty contest last Friday was undoubtedly the biggest event that has ever happened not only in the circles of young people living with HIV / AIDS, but also in Kampala.
A total of 18 HIV-positive interviewees from different regions of the country, mainly students, have made their way along the Sheraton Hotel track in an attempt to find the new Mr Y + and Miss Y +.
Add some entertainment to such an event and you will get young people in great spirit.
The musician Rema Namakula participated in the menu and sang some of his best music. Joanita Kawalya has also freed the young audience from their seats and standing with successes like Malayika.
Rema Namakula did what he does best. (Courtesy photo)
"Beauty with Zero Discrimination" was the theme of the glamor event, which saw Vivian Alice Nabanoba and Hillary Niwamanya crown respectively Miss Y + and Mr Y + 2018/19.
Winning, the two became national ambassadors to lead the fight against the stigma and discrimination of HIV / AIDS in their communities, workplaces, schools and global platforms.
Nabanoba, 24, is an experienced client at Alive Medical Services, while 22-year-old Niwamanya is a student at the College of Commerce in Namasuba, who graduated in hotel management and catering.
"Exceptional brains and safety"
The chief judge, the senior pediatrician Dr. Sabrina Kitaka, greeted the winners, saying they could not make better choices than Nabanoba and Niwamanya.
Both come from the central region.
"They have exhibited exceptional brains, trust, eloquence and knowledge and information about HIV / AIDS issues that affect young people, and they can bring the theme of" stigma zero "to greater heights," Kitaka said.
After being declared the winner, a very happy Nabanoba declared that she would use her position to touch people's lives, especially those in the deeper villages, and also to create a better life for people living with HIV, especially the young.
"As a national Miss Y +, I will work closely with the Uganda Network of young people living with HIV / AIDS (UNYPA) to ensure that we reach young people who are not yet on board, those who live in denial and those who are not strictly adherent to their medicines, "he said.
Nabanoba became aware of her HIV status in 2012 after a voluntary test.
He had the habit of testing many times just for fun. Once, the health worker who tested it concealed its results. It was only after a while that the health worker himself realized that his condition was deteriorating and he told his mother about his condition.
He advised her to start the drugs before the virus could put it down.
The judges were impressed. (Courtesy photo)
"Most Lethal Stigma of HIV"
Meanwhile, Niwamanya was also born with the HIV virus, but only became aware of it in 2008, at the age of 12. He often became ill. His mother's friend, who suspected he could have HIV, took him to Milmay, Uganda, where the boy was diagnosed with the virus.
He is the second son of three. His other brothers are HIV-negative.
"I have personally experienced the stigma and I am still facing it from my Gangu neighborhood off Busabara Road, where parents prevent their girls from joining with me, saying they will" kill "their daughters. of HIV from our maid who spread the rumors, "said Niwamanya.
Although the competition was stiff, she was enthusiastic about being crowned Y + national, as she considers it a platform she can use to sensitize fellow youths, her peers and the whole community struggling with stigma and others who are denied.
"The stigma is more lethal than HIV and the fight against the epidemic will never be successful without facing the stigma.
"My victory is a milestone in my life, I will try to destabilize the community on the pandemic," said Niwamanya.
Why the beauty contest Y +?
The competition is organized annually by the UNYPA, with the aim of facing and stopping the stigma and discrimination that surrounds HIV.
Nicholas Niwagaba, executive director of UNYPA, said that young people are constantly facing frustrations resulting from stigmatization and discrimination by families, schools and the general public, which in the long run have an impact on their use of HIV services from health centers and 39; accession.
"They are afraid of revealing their status," he said.
"Therefore UNYPA uses the Y + Beauty Pageant as a tool to raise the status of young people living with HIV, echo their voices and collaborate with partners to build a strong, energetic, creative and productive generation".
UNYPA Executive Director Nicholas Niwagaba. (Courtesy photo)
The Y + Beauty Pageant offers young people living with HIV a platform to become voiceless voices, pillars of audacity and strength for those who still fear the HIV test, as well as testimonies of certainty that the 39; Acquisition of HIV is not the end of life.
Nuwagaba recognizes that many young people are acquiring HIV because they do not have accurate information about the virus. The success stories of young people participating in the Y + beauty contest show that they grow and shine with this platform.
To start with, they show that they are beautiful / beautiful.
Secondly, they are told to embrace themselves.
And thirdly, they are encouraged to adhere to their medicines.
The capacity of these young people is built and equipped and become ambassadors of change in their communities.
"Investment in human dignity"
The guest's honor at the crowding ceremony, the Dutch envoy to Uganda, Henk Bakker, said that young people living with HIV should not be taken away from the community and programs for their development.
He also acknowledged the support that the various development partners have continued to commit to and to fulfill the elimination of HIV / AIDS in Uganda.
For its part, UNAIDS National Director Dr. Karusa Kiragu noted that Uganda is a model country in the fight against AIDS.
"The end of AIDS is an investment in human dignity and not in a charity," he said.
Uganda has 1.1 million people in care (out of 1.3 million living with HIV), which Kiragu said is key to achieving the UNAIDS goal 90-90-90 .
The goal is that by 2020, 90% of all people with HIV will know about their HIV status, 90% of all people diagnosed with HIV will receive ARV and 90% of all people who receive antiretroviral therapy will have suppressed viral load.
Speaking of the same function, Anna Mutavati, vice president of the United Nations, praised the challenge that young people have set themselves to limit the transmission of HIV that reflects the violence imposed on the victim.
He urged men to take responsibility for ensuring the safety and development of all girls and women.
"I salute the continued support of policy makers, civil society organizations, UN agencies and the government to ensure a reduction in the number of new infections, particularly among young people.
"The fact that everyone is starting to take responsibility for fighting stigma and discrimination, which are all forms of violence, will allow us to reach a beautiful shore – Zero HIV / AIDS by 2030," Mutavati said.
According to the World Population Data Sheet 2016, Uganda has the highest percentage of people aged 15 to 25 living with HIV / AIDS in Eastern Africa.
3.7% of women and 2.4% of males in the age group live with HIV in Uganda, which is also the ninth in Africa. Uganda is followed by Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.
Surprisingly, 575 adolescents and young women aged 15 to 24 in Uganda are infected with HIV on a weekly basis (MOH report).
The new UNAIDS statistics have indicated that 575 adolescents and young women (15-24 years) have become a vulnerable group that is much more infected than others in Uganda. These are not girls born with HIV, but just infected every week.
When they turn 15, they become vulnerable to contracting HIV.
This, according to Niwagaba, is one of the reasons why he launched the Y + Beauty Pageant to stigmatize the community on HIV / AIDS. UNYPA has organized the beauty contest for young people living with HIV since 2014, which means that this was their fifth edition.
Botswana, one of the countries of sub-Saharan Africa with the highest HIV / AIDS prevalence rate, was the first to organize a beauty contest for HIV-positive contenders in 2000, and since then has organized more than 20 beauty pageants to help reduce the Stigma of HIV.
Uganda is probably the second African country to organize such a beauty contest, courtesy of UNYPA, an organization of services for HIV set up to provide leadership and coordinate greater and meaningful involvement and participation of young people living with HIV in Uganda.
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