KAYONZA – Over 400 students from different schools in Eastern province gathered in Kayonza town yesterday where they voluntarily tested for HIV. The exercise was conducted at Mukarange health centre.
The students were among those from families infected and affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Edward Muhima the officer in charge of combating HIV/AIDS in the district said the students’ voluntary participation in the tests, was of paramount importance.
He said that ascertaining ones HIV status is important for the purposes of charting out a new path in life.
“Yes, it is true that people have suffered because they do not know their status…if one is infected, there is a way to live positively. And, if a person is not infected, he or she is motivated to remain positive”.
“These are the dynamics involved in the process. It further explains why we target the youth-the most vulnerable group of people in our communities who are being advised to change their lifestyles,” he said.
Marie Chantal Mukanyarwaya, one of the students who volunteered to test, said HIV/AIDS is likely to continue spreading, since the youth in schools are unabatedly involved in promiscuous activities.
“The environment where most students operate under has served to entice us into the kind of behaviour which enabled some of us to be rendered as vulnerable to contracting this scourge. We need to change this situation for the purposes of fighting it,” she said.
Prior to testing the students were given a pre-counselling session to prepare them mentally for the actual tests.