In Uganda, “side dish” partners – sexual partnerships that exist concurrently with long-term relationships – are common. Get off the Sexual Network! is CCP’s provocative response.
The irony in Uganda is that while the HIV infection rate is on the rise, the increase is not seen in the typical most-at-risk populations such as commercial sex workers, but among married and co-habiting couples. Launched in Uganda in September 2009, Get Off the Sexual Network! raises awareness about the risks associated with multiple and concurrent partnerships, partnerships that put their members on the sexual network and thus at greater risk for HIV infection.
Targeting well-educated, urban women (20-29 years) and men (25-39 years) across Uganda who are married or in long-term relationships, Get off the Sexual Network! seeks to increase monogamous practices by five percent by the end of the three-phased campaign. The first phase of the campaign introduced the concept of the sexual network; the second highlighted the consequences to the individual, the partner, and the individual’s family. The final phase, which is currently underway, highlights small steps people can take to remove themselves from the network, and links to other ongoing HIV campaigns in Uganda like Go Together, Know Together which encourages couples to seek HIV counselling and testing jointly. Read the story about the Go Together, Know Together campaign.
“The Sexual Network does not stop with you. Get off the Sexual Network!” proclaims the campaign through TV and radio spots, local theatre, and call-in radio shows, which have succeeded in making discussion of sexual behaviour part of daily life.
On the street, in the media, and on social media networks, people in Uganda are talking about the sexual network. A Facebook group called Get off the Sexual Network: One Love created by the campaign has over 10,000 followers and technical experts monitor comments and provide accurate information and guidance when necessary. The campaign has also tapped into mobile phone technology, reaching over 1.2 million people through a “pass it on” SMS campaign on World AIDS Day last year.
Get off the Sexual Network! is being led by the Uganda Health Marketing Group (UHMG), as part of the Center for Communication Programs-run, USAID-funded AFFORD project that delivers affordable health care solutions using innovative marketing and communication approaches.
Learn more about the AFFORD-Health Marketing Initiative.
UGANDA HIV/AIDS: Get Off the Sexual Network Campaign Compilation