By Kiberu Frank
Social media, especially music videos and internet make intimacy look consequence free, an anti-HIV activist said.
Mr Timothy Engena, the head of communications of HIV Bible Movement, while speaking to students of Kololo Senior Secondary School said because of sex innuendos found mostly in social media, teenagers come to believe that when you like someone, you do not have to protect yourself.
“Sex-filled media and insinuated messages make the response to (anti) HIV (campaigns) by the youth slow because they think that when they engage in risky behavior, there are no consequences,” Timothy explained.
However, the 2014 Anti-Pornography Bill criminalises showing a person engaged in real or stipulated sexual activities and is punishable by paying five hundred currency points (Shs1m) or imprisonment not exceeding ten years or both. Internet is yet to be regulated as per the act.
Timothy explained saying due to the innuendos, youth have misconceptions about intimacy which leads to risky behavior and exposure to HIV. “In music videos for example, all you see is a girl who likes a boy, goes out with him, they get intimate and at the end of the day, she goes back home without any consequences. This is makes intimacy attractive without side effects like HIV which is not true,” he added.
Talking about misconceptions held by underage youth, Eddie Mugulusi, the author of the HIV BIBLE (Be Inspired Become Lively Empowered) under the HIV Bible Movement gave an example of a high school student who asked if when teachers get intimate with students they can become pregnant or contract the virus.
“I was shocked because you take it that such things like how a person gets pregnant and how one contracts HIV are known by everyone. Young people between 10-24 years of age can still be changed, they can be saved. They are still experimenting and have misguided misconceptions.”
HIV prevalence, according to Uganda Aids Commission is still high in youth standing at over 3%.