Saturday, 21 November 2015

HIV Prevalence Rate among Adolescents is higher than that of Adults in Malawi: Why Young People?

A study that was conducted in 2012 by UNICEF indicates that HIV prevalence rate among Malawian adolescents is 5% higher than that of adults.  This is very shocking and this rationalizes the need to intensify our efforts towards reducing the rate at which young people are contracting the virus.

Discussing this issue with some young people, they seemed to be ignorant of the underlying factors that contribute to this shocking revelation. The question that needs to be answered is; why the youth? This issue is indeed astonishing and it is food for thought, not to the youths alone but to everyone in the country. However, the youth themselves also need to be proactive in ensuring that duty bearers are respecting their Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRH&R). The youth also need to seek the available resources to prevent HIV infection.

Among other things, Malawian young people surely need two important things; information and services. Firstly, it is the role of the government and other institutions like NGOs that are working in the area of youth development and SRH to ensure that adolescents have all the necessary information about HIV/AIDS. Behaviour change occurs when the targeted groups of people have information and they act upon it.  Secondly, provision of sexual and reproductive health services should also be an integral part of the strategy. This is where the availability of Youth Friendly Health Services in our health facilities should be felt.

Young people are the pillars of our nation, let us all save adolescent young people by making sure that all that needs to be done in order to deter the spread of HIV among the youth is done. 

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