HIV fight to focus on adolescents

HARARE - The fight against the HIV pandemic has shifted towards focusing more on adolescents and how they should be involved in ending HIV by the year 2030.

This comes at a time when the US is also giving out money for the Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe women (Dreams) Campaign which is an ambitious partnership to reduce HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women in 10 sub-Saharan African countries, Zimbabwe included.

However, for most African countries including Zimbabwe, the dilemma has been on how to integrate discussions of intimacy in conversations with young people without seeming to endorse sexual activity, as well as how to break cultural barriers in conservative communities.

“Instead of saying this conversation is taboo we don’t talk about it, we should know that knowledge is power and the young people should be taught about, respect, intimacy, bullying and more,” senior technical advisor at the United Nations Population Fund and leader of the Condomise campaign Bidia Deperthes told the Daily News on Sunday during the International Conference on Aids and STIs in Africa (Icasa) in Harare recently.

“It is so easy for people to say, ‘we are Africans, we have beliefs and values, there is no kind of talk like that, it’s something that’s taboo’.

“And we have the impression that if we don’t talk about it or hear about it, it’s not happening.  In the same manner that they have taught us to write, they should talk.

“As parents, whatever your education level or where you live, discussing sex education with your children and young people, is embarrassing, it’s not easy. And most parents believe if you talk, children will start being promiscuous,” she said.

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