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When I ask Mambera and her friend Kyolaba Amina if it is a woman or a man who decides to wear a condom, Kyolaba giggles softly at my question. As I speak to Mambera and Kyolaba in the backyard of the Christa clinic in Jinja, Uganda, a group of women cradling babies on their laps watch as a nurse demonstrates how to use a condom. The clinic serves a poor community near the banks of Lake Victoria and the source of the Nile river providing free and low cost family planning services.
Uganda has a birth rate in the top 10 of countries worldwide. A different, more concerning, statistic has emerged in Uganda and other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa in recent years. A young woman between the ages of 15 to 24 is more than twice as likely as a young man in the same age range to be HIV positive. According to the latest available statistics from , 4. Catherine a nurse at Jinja referral hospital, likes to put herself in the shoes of her young patients.
As Dairo explains, girls are often forced into early sexual relationships and early marriage, often with much older men. Girls are also at risk because they face violence, including sexual violence, and because they have less access to education and economic resources than their male peers, says Dairo.
This forces young girls to find older men who help them out with money for bus fares and school fees, creating a very unequal power dynamic, where it would be very unlikely a girl could decide if her partner wears a condom.
This story includes downloadable print-quality images -- Copyright IPS, to be used exclusively with this story. All rights reserved. Pictures for this story This story includes downloadable print-quality images -- Copyright IPS, to be used exclusively with this story.