Joint Adherent Brothers and Sisters against AIDS (JABASA) is a registered community-based organization offering psychosocial, adherence, treatment and research literacy services to people affected by HIV/AIDS in Uganda.
JABASA has been collaborating with several advocacy organizations to champion HIV prevention interventions and access to essential medicines. JABASA uses music, dance and drama to uniquely communicate to the community at large about the dangers of contracting HIV, while stressing the dangers of stigmatizing people with HIV.
JABASA energizes the community by sharing exciting research updates, like ongoing scientific advances towards an HIV cure. This motivates those on treatment and encourages them to participate in safe, medically-approved research projects. Thus, we are building our community through information, motivation, and participation.
We have participated in and contributed to events associated with World AIDS day, Candlelight Day and Philly Lutaya Day annual functions.
Moses Supercharger, the co-founder and team leader of JABASA, has lived openly and positively with HIV since 1994, is a member of the Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC) Community Advisory Board (CAB), INSIGHT CAB and the Global Gene Therapy Initiative (GGTI) iCAB. Supercharger represents PLWHA on the ACTG Cure ART TSG (Anti-retroviral Therapy Transformation Science Group), ARTS (Anti-Retroviral Therapy), and Sites Management Committee (SMCCC). He is a member of HIV Cure Africa acceleration partnership (HCAAP), African Society for Laboratory Medicines (ASLM) and the IAS HIV cure advisory board.
In 2000, Moses Supercharger founded and leads the Stigmaless Band and PINA Uganda, a music and drama group comprised of youth born and living with HIV, which has actively promoted early treatment. Both performance groups shared exciting stage performances during the IAS Global Village Meeting in Melbourne (2014) and Durban (2016).
Uganda, through support from AIDS development and implementation partners, has made significant gains in identifying people with HIV and putting them on combination antiretroviral therapies. However, we have the extremely large challenge of treatment literacy, retention and adherence remain.
According to a report released in the previous Joint AIDS review by the Uganda AIDS commission, presented by Ministry of Health, 176,000 Ugandans are not virally suppressed, and their lives are not only in danger but also the lives of their partners and their unborn babies.
Clients on ART actually want to be well- that’s why they go to hospitals to test and to pick up medication, but they lack the psychosocial support and knowledge about ART intervention. As a result, Uganda has one of the highest rates of people abandoning medication after attaining undetectable viral load. Thus, acquired HIV drug resistance is a problem that forces health workers to switch clients to more complicated and expensive medications.
The cost of these next line medications is beyond the reach of nearly all, and we thus now depend entirely on financial donations.
In sum, 176,000 Ugandans failed first-line therapy and 1,200 failed all lines and switched to a salvage intervention.
Joint adherent brothers and sisters against AIDS (JABASA) embarked on the challenging task of constructing a treatment and research literacy center. With savings from Moses Supercharger’s music concerts (pre COVID-19) and contributions from friends a piece of land was acquired at Ssanga Matugga in Wakiso district. This property is 10 miles from Kampala. Construction started 7 years ago, but progress has stalled due to a lack of sufficient funds to complete construction.
What Will The Center Do?
- Offer adherence orientation to the newly initiated patients and their caretakers
- Rehabilitate individuals with adherence issues.
- Host and organize quarterly adherence retreats for people on treatment.
- Will annually identify and train 350 trainers. Training new trainers is an impactful way forward.
- The one acre compound will offer recreation activities like sports and used to organize PLWH-related activities.
- Update advocates and the general family of PLWHA about the ongoing global HIV research efforts towards a durable cure. Education about specific research and new medical approaches is a great need in not only Uganda, but in the majority of geographic regions with high prevalence.
- Its ART-SEUM (anti-retroviral therapy museum) will display the treasures of our HIV struggle, including the treatment, prevention, research break-throughs and current obstacles. The global struggle against HIV, and our participation in it, is a legacy of science, humanism, faith, and compassion that we will entrust to the next generation.
Team leader JABASA