It’s hard to comprehend that on average 6,000 people are killed in Africa every day from HIV/AIDS – this is more than any war, famine or natural disaster. When put in this context the impact of the disease really does hits home. In Tanzania, the prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS is 8.6% in adults, with 65% of new infections occurring in new adults aged 15-24. With this in mind AI, alongside partners The Community Aid and Small Enterprises Consultancy (CASEC), are combating HIV/AIDS through our Youth Education programme, hoping to make a big impact before this 15-24 age bracket.
How are we doing this? Working with 14 schools, AI is educating both students and teachers on how to reduce the risk of HIV and AIDS, equipping the students with life skills and information regarding sexual and reproductive health, and changing behaviour and attitudes. This is incredibly important given the fact that there are a disproportionate number of women and girls living with the infection, largely through gender inequality, lack of education and therefore little understanding of the workings of their own bodies. The subject of HIV/AIDS is also extremely taboo and anyone with the disease not only suffers from the infection but with stigma associated with it. By creating a platform in which the disease can be discussed openly, through the Health Clubs that also create alternative out-of-school activities, this generates a greater sense of awareness and openness increasing the likelihood that knowledge of HIV/AIDS will then be passed on to friends, family and the rest of the community.
Working with CASEC we feel strongly that it’s worth investing the time now and educating the younger generation in the prevention of HIV/AIDS, after all prevention really is better than cure.