20th International AIDS Conference - Melbourne, Australia


TUAE0105 - Oral Abstract

Reaching the visually impaired youth with Braille publications for sexual reproductive health and HIV and AIDS information in Uganda

Presented by Susan Ajok (Uganda).

J. Mucheri1, M. Akello2, S. Ajok3, E. Awor4

1Straight Talk Foundation, Programmes Support Services, Kampala, Uganda, 2Straight Talk Foundation, Mass Media, Kampala, Uganda, 3Straight Talk Foundation, Director, Kampala, Uganda, 4Straight Talk Foundation, Research and Evaluation, Kampala, Uganda

Background: In Uganda, many HIV programs that focus on youth pay little or no attention paid to youth with disabilities. Straight Talk Foundation in 2009 adopted an approach to have disability mainstreamed into its behavior change communication programs. This includes the use of media and youth friendly service provision. The media interventions include Braille production targeting school children with visual impairment and sexual reproductive health service delivery through Straight Talk Foundation youth centers.
Description: Braille publications address issues such as HIV counseling and testing, relationships, and life skills and provide young people with visual impairment a platform to share their experiences and life stories. Annually, STF produces and distributes two issues of Braille versions of its successful Young Talk and Straight Talk, each with print runs of 100 copies. The current 100 copies produced per quarter are shared by on average 1000 per quarter are distributed in schools and among partner organizations such as unions for disabled persons.
Material content for Braille is collected through focus group discussions involving youth between 8 to 12 boys and girls in separate groups who are in and out of school with visual impairments. The topics are generated from questions frequently asked on prevention of HIV and AIDS and related sexual reproductive health concerns. The organisation produces newspapers for the youth and by having Braille the visually impaired young people are able to be abreast of the issues covered in the newspapers read by youth who can see.
Lessons learned: Visually impaired persons are enthusiastic to learn about their health and HIV and AIDS and reading helps with better understanding of issues. Braille gives young people a sense that they are not forgotten since they have unique challenges.
Peer education is key for social inclusion and addressing young people''s concerns and behavior change.
Conclusions/Next steps: Straight Talk Foundation is expanding its publications for information to adults with visual impairments so at to reach to a wider audience.
Increase in publications in Braille both in frequency and quantities is the next step for reaching to more youth in Uganda with visual impairments.

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