News / Africa

Young Zimbabweans Demand Input in HIV Policies

Tonderai Kanyere waits for his results after he was tested for HIV and Aids in Harare, June, 22, 2012.
Tonderai Kanyere waits for his results after he was tested for HIV and Aids in Harare, June, 22, 2012.
Young people in Zimbabwe, a country with one of the world’s highest rates of HIV and AIDS, have told their government officials that the country can only meet its 2015 goal of a zero HIV infection rate if they are involved in policy making.  
 
Young Zimbabweans applaud themselves after presenting their demands to their government this week at a special strategy meeting on combating HIV/ AIDS.  

About 100 youth representatives attended the meeting and argued their input will be key.

“I need to stand for a change as a youth," says Yeukai Mutazo, 23, from the Young People’s Network on Sexual Reproductive Health HIV/AIDS, which organized the meeting. "Even if it is a national emergency, this HIV issue, we are saying anything for the youths without the youths is against the youths.”

Mutazo notes that the majority of people living with HIV in Zimbabwe are young.  More than 14 percent of Zimbabweans between the ages of 15 and 49 have the virus.  That is the fifth highest infection rate in the world.

In 1999, Zimbabwe became the first country in Africa to introduce a 3 percent tax on salaries to raise money for AIDS treatment and prevention programs.  But activists have complained that money is not going where it should - to the many patients still not getting access to medications needed to live with the virus.

Solutions

The activists think they can help address the problems.  Madeline Dube of Zimbabwe's National AIDS Council says she hears their call to action and will involve them to reach the country’s goal of no new HIV infections in just three years’ time.

“We decided as National AIDS Council [that] we should have representation within the organization, somebody who coordinates the work of young people in terms of HIV and AIDS," Dube says. "We now have Young People’s Network on Sexual Reproductive Health HIV/AIDS.”

Mutazo says better education in the public schools is part of the youth network's agenda.

“What we want to make noise about is the issue of a comprehensive sexuality education be included in the school curriculum in Zimbabwe," Mutazo adds. "So what we want is that people should know that their sexual and reproductive rights, as well as their health.  So when they are taught at school, they will be careful as they grow, they will be empowered  and would know how to take care of their health.”

Education

Tatiana Shoumilina, who heads the United Nations AIDS program in Zimbabwe, agrees that educating youths is crucial to fighting the spread of the disease.

“When it comes to HIV, the young people are at highest risk," she says. "They are more active, they are experimenting, they are not fully aware that they can be affected by a diseases… Sometimes this brings them to a risk of contracting HIV.”

The youth group also wants more representation on the National AIDS Council - which is the government’s policy implementation arm.

As Zimbabwe prepares to commemorate this year’s World AIDS Day on December 1 - with the slogan "Getting to Zero" - the country faces a massive task.  While the United Nations says new HIV infection rates have dropped by 50 percent in Zimbabwe, the country still has 1.2 million people living with the virus.

You May Like

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid