The AIDS Information Center, Text to Change and Celtel Uganda recently announced that they plan to launch a pilot program in Uganda on Feb. 14 that uses cell phone text messaging in an effort to increase HIV/AIDS awareness in the country, Uganda's Daily Monitor reports.
The program aims to improve HIV/AIDS sensitization and education in the country, as well as to increase voluntary counseling and testing services, TTC and AIC said in a joint release issued Saturday. According to the statement, current prevention campaigns face challenges in reaching people who are most at risk of HIV transmission. The groups said that despite Uganda's success in fighting the disease, prevalence of sexually transmitted infections among young people is still high. UNAIDS estimates that 40% of new STI cases in Uganda in 2006 occurred among young people, the Monitor reports.
Bas Hoefman, founder and marketing manager of TTC, said, "The first thing that came to my mind when I learned about telephones was: if so many people are accessing mobile telephones in sub-Saharan Africa, why not use them for health education?" Hoefman added, "We believe that mobile telephony can make a sustainable contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS" in the country (Nafula, Daily Monitor, 2/11).
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