South Africa: COVID-19 - Fear and Information Is Not Enough, We Need Young Ideas

opinion

This is a crisis, and in times of crisis we must draw on the resources we have. The young people of South Africa are perhaps our greatest resource. There is no other group with the energy, creativity and understanding of multiple different contexts than the youth. And they are more connected and interlinked than the rest of us.

In South Africa, we have faced challenges concerning health-related behaviour change before. Not least among these challenges has been HIV. Mistakes were made in our response, but we learned from them and that learning is critical now. We learned that information is not enough, and that it is a mistake to see young people as part of the problem and not part of the solution.

HIV is relatively simple to protect against - don't have unprotected sex. Yet, despite campaign after campaign many people have continued to have unprotected sex, putting themselves at risk of HIV infection, and for some, getting infected as a result.

While for many people the provision of accurate and clear information on health risk and ways to protect against it is enough, for others it is not. Just think of all the people who continue to smoke....

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