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World Aids Day: USAID calls for youth inclusion in fight against HIV

Author: Emmanuel J. Akile | Published: Thursday, December 1, 2022

Monica Villanueva, the Health Office Deputy Director, HIV Team Lead for USAID South Sudan speaks during Eye Radio's Dawn Program on World AIDS Day. (Photo: Awan Moses).

The US Agency for International Development says young people should effectively be engaged by all stakeholders in the fight against HIV and AIDS in the country.

The US agency says the ideas of young people, and more specially the adolescent girls should be included in all programs for the eradication of HIV and AIDS.

Monica Villanueva, the Health Office Deputy Director of HIV Team Lead for USAID South Sudan said the youth are not being engaged enough on awareness about the virus.

“I don’t think we engage them enough in the fight against HIV. How can we incorporate their ideas, because they are really the innovators, they are the ones who are going to be the leaders,” said Villanueva.

Speaking to Eye Radio on the World AIDs Day, she said young girls and women need more awareness because they are most vulnerable to HIV infection.

“Adolescent girls and young women, are marginalized communities, communities that are vulnerable to infections. Look at your youth, bring the voice to the table and then let’s really refocus on prevention effort”.

HIV is a virus that damages the human immune system.

If untreated, it affects and kills the CD4 cells, which are a type of immune cell called T cell.

Most people who get HIV get it through sexual intercourse, or sharing needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment.

But the virus is not airborne, and it is not transmitted through greeting, eating or drinking from the same plate.

According to UNAIDS report, adolescent girls and young women are three times more likely to be infected with HIV than boys and men of the same age.

The UN agency says inequalities still persist for the most basic services like testing, treatment, and condoms, and even more so for new technologies.

Young women in Africa remain disproportionately affected by HIV, while coverage of dedicated programmes for them remains too low, it adds.

 

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