This sexual health app created by a 22-year-old is saving lives in Uganda

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Jasmine Andersson
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She might only be 22, but Ruth Nabembezi has changed the face of Ugandan sexual history through her groundbreaking app service, Ask Without Shame

After losing both of her parents to AIDS when she was just four, Nabembezi decided that she wanted to create an app to offer Ugandans a free and confidential line to ask burning questions about their sexual health.

And now, the app has set its sights on becoming the go-to sexual health service within East Africa.


sexual health

To date, the app, which launched in December 2015, has responded to over 80,000 questions of over 50,000 users.

“It could be questions about HIV or other STDs, menstruation, masturbation… anything regarding sexuality,” explains Nabembezi to Broadly.

Ask Without Shame gives people somebody to reach out to, and that gives them more life. You can get the information you need and nobody needs to know that you got in touch to share an issue.”

sexual health

And while young adults get to choose whether they want to receive the advice over Whatsapp or via the phone, Ask Without Shame is not only an accessible service, but a life-saving one. 

Presently, Uganda has the tenth highest  HIV rate in the world, with 1,486,600 people living with the condition in the country. 

And, in Uganda, HIV is a feminist issue: the prevalence of HIV in the country is more than 3% higher among women than men, according to research revealed by the government.

Health experts have attributed the disparity to the fact that Ugandan men tend to have more sexual partners, so a man with HIV would spread the infection to more people. Teenage girls and young women are also more likely to face discrimination when seeking preventative measures, such as asking for condoms.


Speaking about this, Nabembezi said: “We get men saying they are HIV positive but fear telling their girlfriend, who doesn't understand why he is insisting on using a condom.”

And as the app makes invaluable inroads into helping young Ugandans, the award-winning badassery of women like Nabembezi needs to be applauded.

Images: Ask Without Shame and iStock



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Jasmine Andersson

When she isn't talking about her emotional attachment to meal deals or serenading unfortunate individuals with David Bowie power solos in karaoke booths, Jasmine writes about gender, politics and culture as a freelance journalist. She wastes her days tweeting @the__chez