DREAMS Initiative and HIV Prevention Support to the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces

The project was funded by the United States Department of Defence (US-DOD) and aimed at reducing the number of new HIV infections and other STIs among members of the UPDF, their families and the civilian communities surrounding military bases by September, 2020 and reducing HIV incidence among AGYW by 40%.

The DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe) project under the HIV/ AIDS Prevention Support to the Uganda Peoples’ Defense Forces aims to reduce HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women in 2018.

Project Name: DREAMS Initiative and HIV Prevention Support to the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces.
Funder: US Department of Defence (USDOD)
Project Duration: October 2016 to September 2020

PACE in collaboration with the UPDF Directorate of HIV and AIDS, the Medical Services and Education Chieftaincies, Medical Logistics and Social Welfare Directorates, the Spouses’ Desk in the Political Commiserate of the UPDF, district local governments, community-based organizations (CBOs) have been implementing a 4 year DREAMS Initiative and HIV/AIDS Prevention Support Program to the Ugandan People’s Defense Forces and Adolescent Girl and Young Women (AGYW).
The HIV epidemic impacts the UPDF’s ability to carry out its constitutional mandate by affecting its professionalization process and combat readiness as well as requiring a high cost of care to the infected and their families and a high replacement costs for the dead. And yet again, in communities where UPDF bases operate, Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) are also at particular risk of HIV infection. The project therefore, aimed at Reducing the number of new HIV infections and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among members of the UPDF, their families, and the civilian communities surrounding military bases by September 202 and Reducing HIV incidence among AGYW by 40%.

Project Coverage: 28 Military bases across the country in the distriscts of Kampala, Wakiso,Luwero, Nakaseke, Nakasongola, Masindi, Arua, Gulu, Pader, Lira, Moroto, Kotido, Nakapiripirit, Mbale, Tororo, Mayuge, Jinja, Masaka,Mbarara, Ibanda, Kanungu, Kasese, Kabarole, Bundibugyo and Mubende.
Target group: Ugandan Military and their dependants; Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) aged between 10-24 years.

Strategies: The program mainly focused on improving uptake of HIV prevention interventions by the military, their families and the surrounding civilian population through a set of designed and pretested approaches that included peer led condom promotion and distribution, provision of targeted HTS, OVC, GBV, a standardized HIV package to militants and dependents and the AGYW.
Progress (achievements) at a glance:

  • A UPDF HIV prevention strategy was developed that guided implementation of appropriate evidence based and quality HIV and AIDS services to the military populations.
  • An HIV prevention strategy and IEC materials were developed for the Military population.
  • A total of 181,326 military personnel were reached with standard HIV prevention messages, 94,137 were referred for HIV testing services of which 4,722 who turned out to be HIV positive were counselled and linked to HIV treatment and care.
  • In conjunction with the UPDF health the facilities, the UPDF Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) mobile team provided VMCC services to 8842 military personnel and their dependents.
  • Through a consultative process, a male brand of condoms was developed for the military called “ULINZI.” 34,948,893 male condoms and 419,930 female condoms were distributed across the 28 UPDF units and neighboring communities.
  • A total of 83,910 military personnel completed an intervention pertaining to gender Norms through GBV training, peer education and community education events that were organized during integrated health service outreaches and military events. Through active case identification, a total of 1,142 GBV cases were linked to the health facility and received post violence care. Of these cases linked, 586 cases were of sexual violence and 556 cases were related to physical/emotional violence
  • Offered age-tailored HIV prevention service DREAMs package to 17,466 Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) of which 2,579 girls received the full primary package and 1,694 received the full primary package plus additional secondary services.
  • Through the CBOs with support from the UPDF HIV directorate 1,440 School going children were reached with standardized HIV prevention SBCC messages using the Journey Plus curriculum. 635 were linked for HTS of which 3 girls that tested positive were linked to care.
  • 962 out of school AGYW from Gulu Military barracks and Mubende military bases received training and skilling in different income generating activities including hair dressing, tailoring, and bookmaking of which 712 received individual or group start up kits.