Campaign to combat HIV among youths launched

HARARE - A 30-day campaign to fight HIV infection among young girls has been launched in Zimbabwe.

The #StayingNegative campaign was launched on May 16 by Katswe Sistahood, an NGO that focuses on women’s reproductive health. It is expected to run until the Day of the African Child on June 16.

This comes as the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) warned of an annual global rise of HIV infection among adolescents from 250 000 in 2015 to a projected 400 000 by 2030 if progress is stalled in reaching adolescents.

“Our girls are being targeted by much older men and sexually exploited for as little as $0,50 for food. Often these men are violent; many of them refuse to use condoms. As a result, some of the girls are now mothers, and now even more vulnerable as they have more mouths to feed,” Katswe Sistahood said in a statement.

“Together with the sistahood movement, let’s carve out practical responses and create a Pachoto Wall of Support for our girls.  To become a member of our Pachoto Wall of Support, you can sign up with us and contribute to any of the three actions; sponsor a girl through school, send a gift to a little sister in Epworth, Hopley, Caledonia, Hatcliffe  or make a donation to Katswe Sistahood.”

According to Health minister David Parirenyatwa, although new HIV infections are generally decreasing, the country is recording a significant rise in the infection of those aged between 10 and 19 years.

There are an estimated 1,4 million people living with HIV in Zimbabwe, with over 100 000 of them adolescents and children.

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