CategoriesAfNHI

Standing Together: The Fight for Civil Society’s Voice in ICASA 2023

icasa 2023In a recent turn of events that shook the core of the ICASA 2023 in Harare, the unexpected cancellation of the People’s March, a vital platform for advocacy and awareness, has sparked a wave of disappointment and condemnation among the conference’s participants, Civil Society, activists, and community members. The statement: “Upholding Civil Society Voices in Health International Conferences: A Response to the Suppression and Cancellation of Communities At ICASA 2023 serves as a collective response to this suppression of civil society voices and reflects on the broader context of community treatment since the beginning of ICASA 2023.

CategoriesAfNHI

Empowering Youth: Integrating Sexual and Reproductive Health Education as Gender-Based Violence Prevention

Introduction 

Empowering youth is not just a noble goal; it’s a responsibility we all share in creating a better, more inclusive society. One powerful way to achieve this is by integrating comprehensive sexual and reproductive health (SRH) education into the lives of young people, while also promoting gender-based violence (GBV) prevention. In this article, I’ll share my inspiring journey of taking proactive steps to make this vision a reality by engaging community and religious leaders, as well as law enforcement agencies. These efforts have led to a commitment that can change lives.

Advocacy Journey: September 4th to 7th

Screenshot 2023 11 17 at 10.36.43The journey towards empowering youth and promoting SRH education as a means of GBV prevention started with an advocacy visit.  During this period, our advocate connected with vital stakeholders within the community, including Community Leaders, Religious Leaders, and the Lagos State Police Force. Their commitment was instrumental in driving this initiative forward.

Community Leaders: Community leaders are the bedrock of our neighborhoods. Their endorsement and commitment to promoting SRH education and GBV prevention within their communities can significantly impact the acceptance and implementation of these vital programs. They understand the unique needs of their communities and can help tailor the messaging accordingly.

Religious Leaders: The influence of religious leaders on the beliefs and practices of their congregations is profound. Engaging with them was a strategic move, as it allowed for the dissemination of these crucial topics within the moral and ethical teachings of the community. Their commitment was instrumental in reaching a wider audience.

Lagos State Police Force: Law enforcement agencies play a pivotal role in addressing and preventing GBV. Collaborating with the police force is crucial in ensuring the safety of young people and providing effective support to GBV survivors.

Outcome of the Advocacy Visit: Community leaders expressed their commitment to support the initiative by allowing access to community spaces for educational workshops, providing resources, and encouraging community members to participate actively.

 Religious leaders expressed their commitment to incorporating SRH education and GBV prevention into their teachings, creating a bridge between faith and knowledge. The Lagos State Police Force committed to providing training for officers on how to handle GBV cases sensitively and efficiently, as well as supporting the initiative by raising awareness about SRH education and GBV prevention among the youth.

Preparation: September 20th and 21st

After securing the support and commitment of these key stakeholders, our advocate shifted focus to gather and organize informational materials, pamphlets, and brochures. These materials were designed to provide straightforward and actionable information about SRH and GBV prevention, along with highlighting the support services offered by the NGO or CSO involved in the initiative.

Informational Materials: Sorting materials that are easy to understand and act upon is critical. These materials cover a wide range of topics, including safe sex practices, consent, reproductive health, and the consequences of GBV. They are designed to resonate with the needs and understanding of young people.

Pamphlets and Brochures: These concise materials are like roadmaps to knowledge and action. They can be distributed in schools, community centers, and religious institutions, making sure the information reaches a diverse audience. These materials serve as both education tools and sources of reference for those seeking help or information.

Support Services: Equally important is making sure young people know where to turn for guidance, counseling, and assistance if they experience or witness GBV. By providing this information, the initiative ensures that young people have access to the help they need when they need it.

Conclusion

Empowering youth through comprehensive SRH education and GBV prevention is a journey filled with hope and positive change. The commitment gained from community and religious leaders, as well as the support of the police force, is a testament to the collective effort to create a safer and more equitable future.

By integrating SRH education and GBV prevention into the lives of young people, we are equipping them with the knowledge and tools to make informed decisions, foster healthy relationships, and contribute to a safer and more equitable society. This advocacy journey isn’t just inspiring; it’s actionable. It shows how individuals and organizations can drive change in their communities, one commitment at a time, ultimately making a lasting impact on the lives of young people. Together, we can empower youth and build a better tomorrow.

Omolayo Ogunyemi Cecilia

AfNHi Youth Mentee 2023

CategoriesAfNHI

Kenya National Pre-UN High-Level Meeting Civil Society Consultation

The Kenya National Pre-UN High-Level Meeting Civil Society Consultation, held on September 12, 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya, was a significant gathering that focused on the global priority of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). With Kenya facing persistent health challenges, including TB ,Malaria ,and HIV/AIDS, the consultation aimed to refine health priorities, strategize for post-UN HLM 2023 engagement, and enhance awareness of human rights and gender concerns. The primary objective was to establish a clear position on inclusivity and the ongoing implementation of UHC, while also creating a framework for holding leaders accountable for the meeting’s decisions and directives.

Opening Remarks

Screenshot 2023 11 17 at 10.33.29Kenya AIDS NGOs Consortium (KANCO) Executive Director,Allan Ragi, opened the engagement with an acknowledgment of the progress made in the battle against TB and other health-related issues. He shared some insights about the changing landscape of HIV/AIDS in line with Tuberculosis infections while also citing a previous lack of addressing TB-related issues in the early years due to negligible funding. Nonetheless, he acknowledged the progress that has taken place over the years, including increasing donor funding and programmatic support from Kenyan authorities, including the Ministry of Health (MOH), Kenyatta Hospital, and the Health Committee at the Council of Governors (COG). These initiatives have seen the growth of the TB champions movement, with a focus on issues such as drug-resistant TB. At the same time, he emphasized that everyone should aim to make a difference, reminding everyone that ‘you never get it unless you ask for it or identify the issue.’ The emphasis was placed on collective responsibility and collaboration towards making a substantial impact in the health sector.

Overview of High-Level Meeting Processes and Updates

Evaline Kibuchi  The Chief National Coordinator at Stop TB Kenya delivered a comprehensive presentation that detailed the extensive preparations for the upcoming UN High-Level Meeting (HLM) scheduled for September 2023. The presentation emphasized the significant progress and developments that have taken place since the initial TB HLM in 2018. 

During the presentation, there was a thorough exploration of the organization and themes of the HLM, highlighting a shared global commitment to two key priorities: expanding Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and strengthening efforts related to Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness, and Response (PPPR). This indicates a global consensus on the importance of these critical health objectives as part of the UN HLM’s agenda.

Achievements and Commitments

The consultation celebrated Kenya’s noteworthy achievements in reducing new infections and TB-related mortalities from 33,000 in 2019 to 21,000 by 2021, along with its significant progression out of the high MDR-TB countries category. The outlined provisions of the Political Declaration reiterated a commitment to ensuring an all-encompassing, equitable, and people-centered approach in TB responses nationwide.

Inputs from Consultative Meeting with Key Populations

The Consultative Meeting with Key Populations resulted in the presentation of valuable insights, emphasizing the need for more comprehensive and diversified strategies to ensure the continued effective implementation of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Key populations stressed the importance of addressing specific concerns related to the Lesbians,Bisexuals, Transgender, Queer, Intersex & Gender Non Conforming (LBTQIGNC) communities, along with other vulnerable groups, to ensure their equitable access to health resources and protection. These contributions highlighted the significance of promoting transparency and accountability in national health initiatives, ultimately enhancing the resilience and responsiveness of healthcare systems.

After a thorough review of existing National Health and Human Rights Policies, an assessment of Community-Led Responses, an examination of societal enablers, and an evaluation of external support and investments, the following key action points were identified;

  • Acknowledging diverse perspectives within Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
  • Advocating for legal reforms to support Key Populations and the LBTQIGNC communities.
  • Documenting achievements to shape evidence-based policies.
  • Promoting community-driven initiatives for healthcare ownership.
  • CSOs monitoring and allocating funds effectively.

These key action points serve as the foundation for a more inclusive and equitable approach to healthcare delivery and policy formulation, ultimately enhancing the well-being and healthcare access of Key Populations and the LBTQIGNC community.

Conclusion

In conclusion, our journey toward fostering true inclusivity and equitable representation for Key Populations and LBTIGNC communities is one that demands our unwavering commitment and persistence. The reflections from our consultative meeting have illuminated essential next steps on this path.

First and foremost, we must recognize that inclusion is intricately linked to the presence of supportive laws and policies, as well as accessible data. These foundational elements are pivotal in our quest for comprehensive reform. Moreover, as we navigate this journey, we must understand that all reforms involve processes. It becomes imperative to ensure that these processes are underpinned by protective laws that safeguard all communities, especially our Key Populations and LBTIGNC communities. 

To operate programs safely and without victimization, we must harness existing safety mechanisms, allocate resources effectively, and uplift those who carry our message. This underscores the urgency of enhancing our safety nets. In our pursuit of inclusivity, we must avoid using language that inadvertently discriminates against sexual and gender minorities. Our conversations and documents should reflect a commitment to eradicating such biases.

The prevailing tendency to exclude communities in planning, policy development, and implementation must change. Communities are urged to push for representation in financial processes and decision-making spaces from grassroots to the national level. To achieve this, we must foster intentional inclusion and meaningful engagement with political representatives and authorities through the proper channels and procedures. Capacity building, particularly through CSOs, is instrumental in this endeavor. Finally, comprehensive guidelines for Community-Led Monitoring (CLM) and monitoring of other diseases and chronic illnesses must be developed, extending beyond HIV care to address the diverse healthcare needs of our communities.

Our journey towards inclusivity and equitable representation is undoubtedly challenging, but with collective dedication and adherence to these vital reflections and next steps, we are poised to effect transformative change and ensure that no one is left behind in the pursuit of better health and well-being.

Fahe Kerubo

AfNHi Mentee 2023

 

CategoriesAfNHI Blog

Adherence To Art Medication And Challenges Faced By Young People Living With HIV

On July 29, 2023, a gathering of young individuals living with HIV became a beacon of strength and support. This support group session was dedicated to addressing the vital topics of antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence and the challenges faced by young people in accessing HIV services. It provided a safe haven for these resilient souls to exchange experiences, coping strategies, and tales of triumph over adversity. With 24 participants, including eight from the LGBTQIA community, the session was a testament to the power of community and shared resilience.

Session Highlights:

This support group session was an active dialogue, allowing participants to open their hearts and minds freely. Here are the key takeaways:

ART Experiences and Coping Mechanisms:

Participants emphasized the paramount importance of adhering to ART medication for maintaining their health. They shared their personal journeys, shedding light on the various coping mechanisms they’ve employed to navigate challenges such as medication side effects, stigma, and emotional well-being. The session became a platform for these young warriors to exchange strategies and provide mutual support, nurturing a sense of belonging and empowerment.

Challenges in Accessing Services:

The challenges in accessing HIV services emerged as a significant theme. Participants identified barriers such as limited access to healthcare facilities, lack of awareness about available services, and the persistent specter of discrimination and stigma. The LGBTQIA community members shared their unique experiences, unveiling additional layers of obstacles they face. The session encouraged participants to voice their concerns and collectively brainstorm potential solutions.

Success Stories and Achieving Low Detectable Levels:

The session was not just a platform for sharing challenges; it was also a stage for showcasing success stories. Participants narrated their journeys of ART adherence, culminating in the achievement of low detectable levels of HIV infection. These stories served as beacons of inspiration and motivation for others facing similar trials. The session underscored the pivotal role of support networks, healthcare provider relationships, and self-care practices in achieving positive health outcomes.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, this support group session on ART adherence and challenges in accessing HIV services was a powerful forum for young individuals to pool their wisdom and experiences. It illuminated the ongoing need for support, awareness, and advocacy to address the unique hurdles faced by young people living with HIV. By fostering a sense of community and empowerment, the session aimed to ignite a spirit of resilience, encouraging participants to maintain their ART adherence and strive for low detectable levels of HIV infection. In these voices, we find the strength to triumph over adversity, inspiring hope for a brighter future in the face of HIV.

Kelvin Njoroge

AfNHi Youth Cohort Mentee 2023

CategoriesAfNHI Blog

Empowering Adolescent Girls and Young Women in Uganda to Combat Workplace Harassment

Recent findings from a study conducted in Uganda reveal alarming statistics: one in three Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) have suffered physical or sexual abuse, while an even more distressing one in two have experienced sexual harassment. This pervasive violence against AGYW poses a grave concern that demands immediate attention. Such acts of violence not only inflict physical and emotional trauma but also lead to financial hardships, hindering AGYW’s ability to pursue education, employment, and a healthy life.

 

Addressing this pressing issue, ACTS101 Uganda partnered with UGANENT LAW to organize an empowering event titled “Empowerment to Power,” specifically targeting young women in the workplace. The primary objective of this engagement was to empower AGYW, enabling them to voice their concerns and advocate for measures against workplace violence and abuse. Additionally, it aimed to raise awareness regarding the pervasive issue of violence targeting AGYW in employment settings.

 

Understanding Body Autonomy and Gender-Based Violence (GBV):

Mrs. Bridget N. Jjuuko, Executive Director of ACTS101 Uganda, initiated the event with a crucial presentation highlighting the significance of body autonomy. Body autonomy emphasizes an individual’s right to make choices about their body without fear of violence or coercion. During the presentation, the six core types of gender-based violence (GBV) were discussed in detail:

  1. Physical Violence
  2. Verbal Violence
  3. Psychological Violence
  4. Harassment and Sexual Violence
  5. Socio-Economic Violence
  6. Domestic Violence

 

Sharing Personal Experiences:

Following Mrs. Jjuuko’s presentation, AGYW participants were encouraged to share their personal experiences of workplace violence. These stories unveiled the heart-wrenching reality of their daily struggles. For instance:

– One young woman recounted how her boss frequently made inappropriate comments about her appearance, creating an uncomfortable work environment.

– Another young woman revealed that her boss had demanded a kiss, and upon her refusal, unjustly terminated her employment.

– A third young woman, who identifies as transgender, disclosed being physically assaulted by a client.

 

Understanding Legal Framework and Rights:

The sharing of experiences led to a constructive discussion about the legal framework concerning sexual harassment. Ms. Shakira, a lawyer from UGANENT LAW, advised AGYW participants to carefully review their employment contracts and become aware of their rights. She emphasized the importance of maintaining a journal to document any incidents of harassment and encouraged participants to confide in trusted friends or family members about their experiences.

 

Charting the Path Forward:

Screenshot 2023 09 19 at 13.37.57

The engagement concluded with a session dedicated to charting a path forward. AGYW participants proposed several actionable steps to address workplace GBV effectively:

 

  1. Development of a one-page information sheet on GBV within every organization.
  2. Creation of a standard GBV manual tailored to AGYW, facilitating training and awareness.
  3. Drafting a petition to raise awareness about GBV.
  4. Collaboration among civil society organizations to collectively combat this pressing issue.

Conclusion:

The “Empowerment to Power” engagement served as a valuable platform for AGYW to share their workplace harassment experiences and gain insights into their rights. Although significant work remains in addressing this pervasive problem, this event marked a crucial step forward. By empowering AGYW to stand against workplace sexual harassment, we aim to build a more just and equitable society for all, recognizing that AGYW represent the future of Uganda.

Victoria Nalweyiso

AfNHi Youth Mentee 2023

CategoriesAfNHI Blog

Engage online toward the High-level Meeting on UHC – #UHCHLM

Here we are: the UN High-level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UN HLM on UHC) is only 2 weeks away! This is a major opportunity to reinvigorate progress toward #HealthForAll. And everyone can engage to raise their voice! Here are 3 ways you can mobilize online ⬇️ #UHCHLM Engagement

1️⃣Countdown to the UN High-Level Meeting on UHC – Online Campaign

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Ahead of the High-level meetings in New york,  join UHC advocates from all around the world for a final online campaign on #UHCHLM. From 11 to 20 September, the campaign will focus on a specific action area from the UHC Action Agenda, to call for concrete actions following the adoption of the  2023 Political Declaration on UHC.

To participate:

  • Download the calendar here
  • Engage via your social media channels – following  CSEM (@CSOs4UHC) and UHC2030 (@UHC2030) on x.com (former Twitter), and on LinkedIn (UHC2030)

Visit the UHC2030 website for more information.

2️⃣Participate in the online Chat on Leaving No One Behind

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On September 12, 3-3:30 pm CET / 9-9.30 am ET, UHC2030 and CSEM will coordinate a #UHCHLM chat on x.com (formerly known as Twitter) on leaving no one behind.

This online chat is an opportunity to mobilize the UHC movement and rally a diverse audience behind UHC.

We invite you to engage in this short chat and take the opportunity to share and elevate key messages, resources and best practices. Please find here more information, and the 5 questions that will be asked: https://csemonline.net/event/uhchlm-chat-about-leaving-no-one-behind/

3️⃣ Stay up to date on the latest information on #UHCHLM: 

Twitter August CSEM 10 300x169 1

 

 

CategoriesAfNHI Blog

Empowering Youth Advocacy for Global Health

In the heart of vibrant Nairobi, a dynamic gathering of 30 young individuals came together in August 2023. These were the champions of tomorrow, belonging to the Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) cohort. Their mission: to mark World Youth Skills Day with a bang, celebrating the boundless potential of young minds and their pivotal role in shaping our global health future.

This gathering had a clear purpose, and its objectives set the stage for exciting engagement outcomes.

  • The participants were on a quest to make the world resonate with the advocacy efforts of the DAPI Ring, both on a national and global scale.
  • Foster Inclusivity:- They sought to create an inclusive dialogue, a movement that would resonate far and wide, powered by WithMeInMe.
  • Introducing the Choice Manifesto:- An introduction to the Choice Manifesto was on the agenda, igniting the spark of change.

Advocacy on the DAPI Ring: In the spotlight was the imperative of accurate information, dispelling myths, and the fight for free and accessible HIV prevention tools. Also highlighted was the progress of the CATALYST studies in Kenya and the progress of the activation sites to date.

 

Screenshot 2023 09 08 at 07.54.04
Skills and Empowerment: The power of advocacy skills and communication took center stage. Social media emerged as a mighty weapon for spreading awareness. Evidence-based advocacy was highlighted as a critical tool in modern day advocacy. The participants went ahead and brainstormed around various ways digital media advocacy can amplify the call for inclusion of the DAPI Ring on the HIV Prevention basket of choice.

LGBTQI Inclusivity: The discussions ripped through stigmas, championing equality. Discussions illuminated a critical imperative: dismantling stigmas and dispelling misconceptions surrounding LGBTQI communities. The spotlight was on promoting acceptance and nurturing inclusivity within HIV prevention programs. In this narrative of change, education and awareness emerged as potent catalysts for fostering equality. This collective insight resounded loudly, underscoring the WithMeInMe campaign as a vital platform for meaningful dialogue. It hammered home the urgency of inclusivity and the indispensable role of education in propelling effective change within the realm of HIV prevention efforts.

Screenshot 2023 09 08 at 07.51.59

Global Fund Writing Process:Ruth Jerop, AYAREP Executive Director and a community representative on the Kenya Coordinating Mechanism (KCM), graced us with an update on the Global Fund writing process. She stressed the critical need for the Dapivirine (DAPI) ring, citing past challenges faced by interventions like PEPFAR in effectively combating HIV. Jerop emphasized that the DAPI ring’s potential to empower individuals to take control of their bodies and sexual health has not been fully realized. Urgency looms, and addressing the roadblocks is crucial. She called for a thorough examination and rectification of these hindrances, ensuring that the Global Fund’s financial resources lead to a comprehensive, culturally sensitive implementation strategy.  As she concluded her address, Ruth appealed to the young audience to grasp the challenges faced by different demographics to enable the advocacy to be evidence-led. 

In the end, this electrifying gathering was a rallying cry for action. The Youth advocates pledged their dedication to HIV prevention, inclusivity, and the continued advocacy of the DAPI Ring. The Choice Manifesto launch scheduled for September 2023 lays a promising secure and effective discussions around the HIV Prevention Choice agenda regionally.

AfNHi Secretariat

CategoriesAfNHI WACI Health News

AFNHI YOUTH MENTORSHIP

AfNHi (Africa Free of New HIV Infections) is a prominent network of dedicated champions from across Africa who tirelessly advocate for biomedical HIV Prevention Research in collaboration with partners. With the aim to accelerate progress and prioritize the biomedical HIV Prevention Research agenda on the continent, AfNHi actively promotes local ownership and the utilization of indigenous strategies. The network not only advocates for the effective use of existing HIV prevention tools but also endeavours to drive the development of new tools and technologies. In addition, AfNHi diligently monitors the implementation of commitments made by African governments, ensuring the efficient use of resources, while advocating for increased public sector investment in health.

Despite the ambitious vision of achieving an Africa free of new HIV infections and an end to the AIDS epidemic by 2030, the continent currently faces challenges with several countries falling behind key elimination milestones. Recognizing the crucial role of young people in driving biomedical HIV prevention efforts, AfNHi emphasizes the need to empower youth to actively participate and shape the discourse in this field. Strong youth-led leadership and advocacy will play a pivotal role in determining the impact of existing and emerging technologies on reducing new HIV infections in Africa. In line with its strategic plan for 2022-2024, AfNHi is rolling out phase 2 of a structured
mentorship program, seeking the involvement of 12 dedicated young individuals. This program aims to enhance knowledge, amplify youth voices, develop advocacy skills, and foster leadership among young people in Africa, thereby contributing to AfNHi's overarching goals.

Ensure you adequately fill in the following sections for your application to be considered for shortlisting.
A.Eligibility Criteria:
B.Bio Data: Detailed bio-data of the applicant.
C.Implementation requirements: Detailed in the application form
D.References: Please provide the email and phone contacts of 3 professional references on the
application form.
E.Declaration:

 

Please submit your application through the online form provided at: or any pre-application inquiries or questions, please contact: [gloria@wacihealth.org]

CategoriesAfNHI

The role of young people and the journey to HIV Prevention

World AIDS Day commemorated each year, is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness .Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day, and organizations and individuals annually endeavor to increase HIV and AIDS awareness and knowledge, speak out against AIDS stigma, and call for an increased response to move toward ending the AIDS Epidemic.

This year’s theme “Equalize” slogan is a call to action. It is a prompt for all of us to work for the proven practical actions needed to address inequalities and help end AIDS.

The Adolescent, Girls and Young Women (AGYW) in Africa remain disproportionately affected by HIV, while coverage of dedicated programmes for them remains too low. AfNHi is committed to giving the young people a platform for their voices to be heard and on this World AIDS Day, the

youth cohort commemorated it in line with the global celebration with a live Twitter space themed, “The role of the young people and the journey to HIV prevention”.

Waci aids

Itumeleng Mothlabane based in South Africa kick started the conversation by sharing how young prevention champions in her community, took leadership before, during and after COVID – 19 by going to the clinics and finding a variety of ways to involve young people on discussions and programs targeting prevention and de-stigmatization community strategies.

HIV-related stigma has been increasingly recognized as a key factor impeding HIV identification, prevention, and treatment. Stigma and discrimination impact the way communities, family, and partners interact with young people living with HIV, and undermine public health efforts to combat the epidemic. This is largely due to the negative impact stigma has on primary and secondary preventive behaviors such as condom use, HIV testing, engagement in HIV care, and quality of care.

Waci aids2Winnie Akidi, an AfNHi youth cohort member based in Uganda, stated that the young people in Uganda are engaged now more than ever through social media, and other platforms such as through beauty peagents for example Y plus which have allowed for a united front on young people voices in creating awareness on HIV prevention.

Evidence shows that where young people are involved in programming, visible effective programme outcomes and services work towards HIV prevention and new HIV infection among young people. As the saying goes, nothing for Us Without Us, it is therefore vital that young people are engaged continuously to support the HIV response, treatment and prevention.

Waci aids3Saidy Brown, an AfNHi youth cohort member based in South Africa, stated that four decades into the HIV response, inequalities still persist for the most basic services like testing, treatment, and condoms, and even more recently so, for new prevention bio technologies. She did however state that “The future looks bright, given the different options available for HIV prevention. What we deserve is a life free of worry from HIV and provision of a basket of choice will go a long way in meeting community, AGYW needs at the grass root level.

Providing African communities with a variety of acceptable, discreet, and convenient choices for highly effective HIV prevention is imperative NOW, not in the near future. For some people, provision of a buffet of prevention options will allow them to increase the options suitable to them at different points of their lives. As such the need for new women centred HIV prevention options remins a public health , reproductive justice , and human rights imperative.

An estimated 50 adolescent girls die every day from AIDS-related illnesses. And each day, some 460 adolescent girls become infected with HIV. Accountability is critical and we are far behind reaching the Fast-Track Targets for 2020 agreed by all countries in the 2016 United Nations Political Declaration on Ending AIDS. Services for adolescent girls and young women are especially failing to reach those who are falling the furthest behind—adolescent girls and young women who experience gender-based violence, who are sexually exploited or who use drugs, among others.

Waci aids4Victoria Quaynor, based in Ghana concluded the discussion by highliting that we can not ignore that any form of inequalities has a greater probability to contribute to a slow response to the HIV prevention programs currently available accross Africa. Inequalities on HIV prevention options, inequalities on stigma and discrimination, gender inequalities just to mentinon a few.

Gender inequalities particularly, adolescent girls and young women face discrimination that compounds their vulnerabilities to HIV. They are largely invisible, underserved and underrepresented in policies, services and investments.

When girls can’t uphold their human rights—especially their sexual and reproductive health and rights—efforts to get to zero exclusion, zero discrimination, zero violence and zero stigma are undermined. It is time to break the vicious cycle of gender inequities, gender-based violence and HIV infection, once and for all.

HIV is life changing and not limiting- we are greater than HIV.- inc AfNHi youth cohort mentorship 2022

CategoriesAfNHI

The role of young people and the journey to HIV Prevention

World AIDS Day commemorated each year, is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness .Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day, and organizations and individuals annually endeavor to increase HIV and AIDS awareness and knowledge, speak out against AIDS stigma, and call for an increased response to move toward ending the AIDS Epidemic.

This year’s theme “Equalize” slogan is a call to action. It is a prompt for all of us to work for the proven practical actions needed to address inequalities and help end AIDS.

The Adolescent, Girls and Young Women (AGYW) in Africa remain disproportionately affected by HIV, while coverage of dedicated programmes for them remains too low. AfNHi is committed to giving the young people a platform for their voices to be heard and on this World AIDS Day, the

youth cohort commemorated it in line with the global celebration with a live Twitter space themed, “The role of the young people and the journey to HIV prevention”.

 

Waci aids

Itumeleng Mothlabane based in South Africa kick started the conversation by sharing how young prevention champions in her community, took leadership before, during and after COVID – 19 by going to the clinics and finding a variety of ways to involve young people on discussions and programs targeting prevention and de-stigmatization community strategies.

HIV-related stigma has been increasingly recognized as a key factor impeding HIV identification, prevention, and treatment. Stigma and discrimination impact the way communities, family, and partners interact with young people living with HIV, and undermine public health efforts to combat the epidemic. This is largely due to the negative impact stigma has on primary and secondary preventive behaviors such as condom use, HIV testing, engagement in HIV care, and quality of care.

Waci aids2Winnie Akidi, an AfNHi youth cohort member based in Uganda, stated that the young people in Uganda are engaged now more than ever through social media, and other platforms such as through beauty peagents for example Y plus which have allowed for a united front on young people voices in creating awareness on HIV prevention.

Evidence shows that where young people are involved in programming, visible effective programme outcomes and services work towards HIV prevention and new HIV infection among young people. As the saying goes, nothing for Us Without Us, it is therefore vital that young people are engaged continuously to support the HIV response, treatment and prevention.

 

Waci aids3Saidy Brown, an AfNHi youth cohort member based in South Africa, stated that four decades into the HIV response, inequalities still persist for the most basic services like testing, treatment, and condoms, and even more recently so, for new prevention bio technologies. She did however state that “The future looks bright, given the different options available for HIV prevention. What we deserve is a life free of worry from HIV and provision of a basket of choice will go a long way in meeting community, AGYW needs at the grass root level.

Providing African communities with a variety of acceptable, discreet, and convenient choices for highly effective HIV prevention is imperative NOW, not in the near future. For some people, provision of a buffet of prevention options will allow them to increase the options suitable to them at different points of their lives. As such the need for new women centred HIV prevention options remins a public health , reproductive justice , and human rights imperative.

An estimated 50 adolescent girls die every day from AIDS-related illnesses. And each day, some 460 adolescent girls become infected with HIV. Accountability is critical and we are far behind reaching the Fast-Track Targets for 2020 agreed by all countries in the 2016 United Nations Political Declaration on Ending AIDS. Services for adolescent girls and young women are especially failing to reach those who are falling the furthest behind—adolescent girls and young women who experience gender-based violence, who are sexually exploited or who use drugs, among others.

Waci aids4Victoria Quaynor, based in Ghana concluded the discussion by highliting that we can not ignore that any form of inequalities has a greater probability to contribute to a slow response to the HIV prevention programs currently available accross Africa. Inequalities on HIV prevention options, inequalities on stigma and discrimination, gender inequalities just to mentinon a few.

Gender inequalities particularly, adolescent girls and young women face discrimination that compounds their vulnerabilities to HIV. They are largely invisible, underserved and underrepresented in policies, services and investments.

When girls can’t uphold their human rights—especially their sexual and reproductive health and rights—efforts to get to zero exclusion, zero discrimination, zero violence and zero stigma are undermined. It is time to break the vicious cycle of gender inequities, gender-based violence and HIV infection, once and for all.

HIV is life changing and not limiting- we are greater than HIV.- inc AfNHi youth cohort mentorship 2022

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