With loud music – from rhythm and blues, South African Kwaito and local Ugandan music – blaring from loudspeakers, more young people join the doctor in his dance.

Dressed in black and red t-shirts bearing the words "If it's not on, it's not safe," young people keep dancing in an effort to promote safe sexual behavior with a view to preventing HIV/AIDS.

"We are dancing for life and dancing for protection," team leader Humphrey Nabimanya told The Anadolu Agency.

Nabimanya, 25, founder of "Reach a Hand Uganda," a non-profit youth organization, said his aim was to reach out to as many young people as possible.

"That's the reason we keep innovating new ideas on how to repackage the message to keep up with changing times, while empowering these young people," he said.

As the dance team shakes to the music, another group holding small white boxes walks through the crowd distributing condoms.

After the dance, activists talk to the audience about HIV testing and condom distribution, encouraging them to speak to family members about HIV/AIDS.

A mobile HIV testing and counseling hub has also been set up, where members of the audience can be tested.

Since its launch at the start of 2014, the "Dancing to a Safer Sex Flash Mob Activation" campaign has already reached over 5,000 young adults.

Nabimanya said they were providing comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights information to young people via entertainment and informative arts.

"We are focused on increasing knowledge and awareness about the effectiveness of condom use as a dual protection measure for preventing unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections," he said.

Four dance-themed flash mobs have recently taken place in slum communities, where young people work predominantly as mechanics and taxi drivers.

"We realized this was the only way we could communicate with young people out of school – by doing something that can really attract them and make them understand what we are talking about," Nabimanya said.


Nabimanya, however, says that distributing free condoms remains a challenge.

"People do not like free condoms because they think they are cheap and of poor quality," he said.

In October 2013, a UNFPA report on the UN's Millennium Development Goals 2015 indicated that even though there was improved access to HIV/AIDS treatment, the prevalence among the 15-24 age group had increased from 2.9 percent in 2004/05 to 3.7 percent in 2011.

The report, however, said there had been no significant improvement in condom use for higher-risk sexual activity.

Around half the youth who engage in sexual intercourse with a non-marital or non-cohabiting partner still don't use condoms, the report found.

While welcoming the campaign, some youths find it embarrassing to buy condoms.

"Most of us find it hard to go to the shop to buy condoms. We tend to ask our boyfriends," Olive Eyotaru told AA.

Dickens Okello was of a similar opinion.

"I would rather someone just bring me a condom – it's easier and less shameful than going to the shop, where everyone stares at you when you ask for condoms," Okello said.

Lawrence Mulindwa, for his part, disagreed.  

"I don't trust the condoms being distributed. In a shop, I have a choice," he said.

He appeared excited, however, about the awareness campaign.

Sheila Ndyanabangi, principal medical officer at the Health Ministry, welcomed the campaign, but warned that the message to young people should be carefully prepared so as not to encourage HIV-positive youth to endanger others.

"The distribution of condoms should not be related to the message; the child deciding to have sex and use condoms should do so of their own free will," Ndyanabangi asserted.

"Young people might use condoms for that first encounter, but their consistency in using condoms is very doubtful," she added.

On December 1, Uganda will join the rest of the world in marking World AIDS Day.

Uganda's HIV prevalence rate currently stands at 7.3 percent, according to official figures.

Anadolu Agency