JSI RESOURCES: Publications

Uganda’s Zero Grazing Campaign


In 1990, some 18 percent of Ugandan adults were HIV positive, the highest rate in the world at the time. But shortly thereafter, the HIV rate began to plummet, and by the end of the decade, it had fallen by almost two thirds. How did this happen? And what can other countries learn from this experience? In the early 1990s, Uganda lacked many of the programs—condoms, HIV testing and STD treatment—that are commonly assumed to be part of a comprehensive prevention response. Instead, Uganda’s program was based on a very African process of community mobilization, collective action, compassion, and mutual aid. It was rooted in the fundamental recognition that the virus was spreading not just among high-risk groups such as prostitutes and truck drivers, but among relatively ordinary people in relatively ordinary relationships and everyone was at risk. The word “concurrency” was not used, but the government devised a series of slogans including “Zero Grazing” and “Love Carefully” to warn people about the dangers of multiple sexual relationships, including long term ones. As community and church groups, women’s groups, the media, and ordinary people joined the fight against the disease, sexual norms began to shift in favor of fewer sexual partnerships and more consistent condom use in casual sex. JSI/AIDSTAR-One. 2012.

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