Testing, Treatment and Tackling Taboos.
How you can help children at risk of HIV in rural Tanzania.
Poor and orphaned children are particularly vulnerable.
Tanzania ranks 4th in the world for deaths related to HIV and AIDS. Just under 5% of the population – that’s 1 in every 21 people between the age of 15 and 49, has HIV. But the epidemic is worse for certain age groups. For those below the age of fifteen, 6% are HIV positive; that’s 1 in 16 young people.
In the Kilimanjaro region, a startling 1 in 5 children contract the virus from their mothers during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. For many, the virus will already have developed into AIDS by the time they get to school, and yet most are unaware that they are infected.
Our partner, the Tanzania Women’s Research Foundation (TAWREF) pioneers evidence-based interventions that address poverty and health. We are working with them on a project called ‘AIDS Free Generation’, which will reduce HIV infection among children in the Kilimanjaro region of northern Tanzania.
Studies carried out by our partner TAWREF have found that children in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania are sexually active at a young age (63% of 11-14 year olds) with many suffering exploitation and abuse in return for food or money.
These activities make children susceptible to contracting the virus. Poor and orphaned children, girls especially, are particularly vulnerable and many are unaware they even have it.
Many believe that sleeping with a virgin can cure AIDS
Additionally, dangerous misinformation abounds. Many believe that sleeping with a virgin can cure AIDS and almost 20% of children and parents surveyed by our partner organisation thought it was impossible for a child to contract the virus.
Please watch the below video and then read about our project with TAWREF, below.
- Provides free HIV testing and treatment for children, supporting those who test positive through trauma counselling, alongside their treatment.
- Sets up Community Centres to share information with local people and help dispel dangerous and pervasive myths
- Sets up School Clubs to create a safe space in which children can discuss HIV/AIDS openly without taboos, to dispel myths and to teach children how they may be able to avoid HIV and other STDs.
We are running an appeal in conjunction with One Day’s Wages, an online giving platform based in Seattle, USA, whose membership donates the equivalent of a day’s wages a year. Every pound we receive online from you will be matched by them. Please don’t miss this opportunity!
What can your gift do?
- It costs £1 to test a primary school pupil for HIV, so £10 can test 10.
- £40 could train 36 teachers on HIV/AIDS and sex education.
- £100 could set up a club, creating a safe space for students to discuss HIV/AIDS/STDs.
£15,000 will enable us to reach 540 children in 9 primary schools, providing them with free HIV testing, followed by counselling, therapy and treatment where appropriate.
Please help us reach our target.