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Acting to prevent HIV infection in Uganda

Through Peer Education Kabarole, Ugandan young people are taking action to prevent themselves and their friends from HIV infection other unwanted health outcomes.

Using creative methods to provide essential reproductive health education, including clubs they have created in secondary schools, these peer educators provide appropriate guidance and advice to other young people. They lead by example by striving to live a life that is exemplary of positive sexual health choices.

This student-designed and student-led initiative is aimed at preventing the spread of HIV infection among the young people of Uganda. The program builds on the concepts of community empowerment and leadership to address pressing local public health issues.

The project was founded by a School of Public Health student. In 2008, Amanda Jones traveled to Fort Portal, Uganda. “I worked with two high schools to see how students accessed sexual health information, what information and messages they needed, and how a peer education program would fulfill that need,” Jones (MSc ’12) explains. “We selected specific students to become the peer educators, trained them and, basically, let them run with it.

And, run with it they did. Peer Education Kabarole now has 250 trained peer educators distributed amongst 22 schools in the Kabarole district. In total, the peer educators serve 11,000 students.

The program's success is rooted in the enthusiasm and ownership of the Ugandan young people and the respect they have earned among their teachers and schools.