Cameroon: Fight Against HIV/Aids - Efforts to Sensitise Youths Intensify

Under the patronage of the First Lady, the 17th edition of the AIDS-Free Holidays campaign was launched yesterday, August 1, 2019 in Yaounde.

Cameroonian youths are aware of the ravaging effects of HIV. Although vigorous, dynamic and ingenious, they are aware of the fact that they are paying the highest price in the AIDS pandemic. This is why they cannot be indifferent to an HIV campaign for their benefit, initiated by the First Lady of Cameroon, Chantal Biya. Yesterday, August 1, a host of youths, drawn from all walks of life gathered at the headquarters of African Synergy Against AIDS and Suffering to participate in the official launch of the 17th edition of the AIDS-Free Holidays under the theme "Android Generation, Click on HIV Screening." AIDS-Free Holidays, an initiative of First Lady Chantal Biya since 2003 is a nationwide campaign aimed at sensitising young people on HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmissible Infectious (STIs) during holidays. The mobilisation of public authorities, development partners and civil society around the First Lady's initiative to facilitate rapid anti-retroviral treatment and breaking the transmission chain amongst the most vulnerable population (youths) is evident, given the huge turnout of government ministers, partners and youths themselves during yesterday's event. The Pan-African Organisation of African First Ladies, African Synergy and its partners are prepared for the next three weeks to raise awareness and reduce the risk of STIs and HIV infection amongst 700,000 young school, university and unemployed youths. 700 peer educators all over the national territory, including 150 recruited and managed by African Synergy will carry out the sensitisation campaign. One of the peer educators, Bernice Ebot, a University of Yaounde I student, says they will use educational talks, individual interviews and other methods to encourage healthy and responsible behaviour of young people in the face of the threat of the HIV pandemic, engage youths to use all communication platforms especially the social media to spread awareness messages against HIV...etc While co-chairing the event, the Minister of Public Health, Dr Manaouda Malachie and the Minister of Youth Affairs and Civic Education, Mounouna Foutsou could not over emphasise on the importance of the campaign which appears as a call to order for many youths during the holidays. Underscoring that the actions of African First Ladies add to the government's efforts in attaining the UNAIDS goals against HIV, Dr Manaouda Malachie advised young people to effectively use their smart phones to encourage their friends to know their HIV status and adopt proper behaviour against the disease.

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