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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs