Boda boda drivers found to be “driving” more than just their customers.
Boda bodas—bicycle or moped taxis—are inexpensive modes of transportation used throughout Uganda and, at least in Kampala, they are driving more than their customers. Boda boda drivers are also “driving” the transmission of HIV.
A recent survey of high risk groups for HIV/AIDS in the Kampala metropolitan area found an HIV prevalence rate of 7.5% among boda boda drivers, in comparison to the 4.5% prevalence in Kampala men. Approximately half the drivers surveyed agreed that they were “not as careful about HIV and sex because there is better treatment for AIDS.” Few drivers had been tested for HIV and transactional sexual relations were not uncommon.
Boda boda drivers, one of several target audiences of the Uganda Health Marketing Group’s HIV/AIDS prevention strategy, have another problem—they are often involved in road accidents, compounded by infrequent use of helmets.
To address these findings, the Uganda Health Marketing Group (UHMG) has launched a campaign that utilizes boda bodas as small scale sellers of condoms while providing drivers with a comprehensive HIV prevention package, including information about HIV transmission, the dangers of high risk behaviors including multiple partners, the importance of getting tested and the need to use condoms.
In addition, the campaign is giving boda boda drivers helmets branded with the UHMG campaign slogan, “I am protected, are you?” The helmets were donated to UHMG by USAID/PMI. Billboards about HIV prevention and condom use are being displayed throughout the major towns of Uganda.
While only recently launched in several major cities across Uganda, boda boda drivers have already sold over 80,000 condoms.
Learn more about the Uganda Health Marketing Group.