An important and previously largely unaddressed issue in Sub-Saharan Africa, and in Uganda specifically, is the role of alcohol marketing and early alcohol use among youth in their path towards HIV acquisition. Alcohol use in Uganda is of particular concern since the country has one of the highest per capita consumption levels world-wide. While alcohol research in Africa has been scarce, alcohol use in primarily Sub-Saharan Africa has been found to be associated with unprotected sex and other health concerns. Research also shows that alcohol marketing, specifically through the provision of free alcohol to youth (ages 13-15), is relatively common in Zambia (30%) and that this form of marketing in turn is associated with problem drinking and drunkenness. However, there is a dearth of information about alcohol marketing practices and their influence specifically on youth in Uganda. Previous research shows that youth who are exposed to alcohol marketing are also more likely to initiate alcohol use early, and in turn, that initiation leads to more problem drinking and drunkenness. However, these findings based on data available primarily in Zambia, have not yet been empirically examined in Uganda. The current mixed-methods project will develop a structural intervention designed to reduce the extent to which early alcohol use exacerbates risk for HIV transmission among youth ages 12-18 years of age. The project will include conducting an environmental scan of alcohol, conducting formative research (surveys and focus groups) with youth and leaders of community based organizations and the development of communication messages and materials to devise a counter marketing campaign. The project will be guided by an interdisciplinary and international Project Advisory Board comprised of distinguished alcohol researchers, that serve vulnerable and urban youth in Kampala, Uganda. The goals of the project is to better pioneers in the field of alcohol marketing, and valued leaders of community based organizations understand the prevalence and types of alcohol marketing that youth are exposed to and to develop counter marketing messages that will seek to delay and reduce early alcohol use and alcohol-related risky sexual behaviors that increase risk for HIV transmission.
An important and previously largely unaddressed issue in Sub-Saharan Africa, and in Uganda specifically, is the role of alcohol marketing and early alcohol use among youth in their path towards HIV acquisition. Alcohol use in Uganda is of particular public health concern since the country has one of the highest per capita consumption levels world-wide. This project will seek to develop a structural intervention to reduce the exten to which alcohol use contributes to HIV transmission among youth in Kampala, Uganda.