Uganda crowns “Mr & Miss Y+”

Beauty contest combats stigma

“I really suffered in my home community when the village found out that I was HIV positive; I was ridiculed, I was scorned,” says Gloria Nawanyaga, who claimed top honours in this year’s “Mr & Miss Y+” beauty contest organised by AIDS support organisation UNYPA in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

Aimed at young HIV-positive people, the competition seeks to combat their social discrimination. The annual event is about more than beauty, though – it also highlights character and creativity: some of the candidates pacing the catwalk show off clothes they have made from, for instance, feathers or medicine bottles. They also answer questions posed by the around 400 members of the audience on how they deal with HIV and the stigmatisation they endure.

Although many of the approximately 1.5 million people living with HIV in Uganda have access to HIV therapy, they are frequently discriminated against – even by their own families. That is what the AIDS support organisation UNYPA is seeking to counteract with initiatives such as the “Mr & Miss Y+”contest, which has been running since 2014.


Schweriner Volkszeitung (2017): Wettbewerb gegen Stigma. Retrieved November 20, 2017, from