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

    South Sudan Sends First Ever Official Olympic Team to Rio

    VOA caught up with Santino Kenyi, 16, one of three athletes who will compete in this year's summer games in Brazil

    Arrest of Malawi's 'Hyena' Man Highlights Clash of Ritual, Health and Women's Rights

    Ritual practice of deflowering young girls is blamed for spreading deadly AIDS virus

    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    VOA finds things Americans take for granted are special to foreigners

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora