JOINT EFFORT: Andy Wang, CEO StarTimes Uganda exchange MoUs with UNAIDS Country Director Amakobe Sande

UNAIDS and the Chinese media group StarTimes Uganda have today signed a memorandum of understanding to raise awareness about HIV prevention among the adolescents and young people with a specific target on men.

This partnership is aimed at working together to attain the UNAIDS global and national target of 90-90-90 targets by 2020 that will contribute to ending the AIDS epidemic in Uganda by 2030.

Through this cooperation, UNAIDS and StarTimes Uganda will partner in resource mobilization, advocacy, publicity and awareness raising for HIV prevention initiatives.

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In particular, StarTimes will provide media support and outreach during UNAIDS campaigns, notably World AIDS Day and Zero Discrimination Day as well as regular dissemination of HIV prevention information on popular programming with key messages targeting the young and adolescent viewers and mobilizing young people to learn about HIV/AIDS services in the country.

In 2015, an estimated 1.5 million people were living with HIV in Uganda with 83,000 new infections registered. Of concern is the situation among young people and particularly young women and girls registering 50 new infections a day.

The trend of rising new HIV infections in the country called for an accelerated action plan and it is on this basis that the President launched the Presidential Fast Track Initiative on ending AIDS as a public health threat in Uganda by 2030 on June 6.

The initiative contains a five-point plan for more focused and urgent action to accelerate achieving control of the HIV epidemic in Uganda.

Signing on behalf of UNAIDS, Amakobe Sande UNAIDS Country Director welcomed the partnership.

“Government and other agencies involved in the AIDS control should work harder and reverse the new trend of infections among the youth. As UNAIDS, we shall continue to work with Uganda Aids Commission, Ministry of Health and other partners to end AIDS as a public health threat in Uganda by 2030,” Amakobe said.

Andy Wang, CEO StarTimes Uganda said: “AIDS is the public enemy of all mankind and we are honoured to have the opportunity to work with UNAIDS in the mission of fighting AIDS. We will use our digital media platform to create content that appeals to the youths and adolescents so that we get their attention. That way we shall be able to convey messages that sensitize them, alert them and warn them about the dangers of careless living. Enhancing awareness of HIV is the first step in helping the people”

Uganda is the first country to localize this partnership after UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé and StarTimes’ President Pang Xinxing sealed the partnership during a meeting in Beijing, China, on May 12 to raise awareness about HIV in Africa and to work together to end the AIDS epidemic.

StarTimes is the leading digital pay television operator in Uganda, with over 1 million subscribers.