Windhoek-Despite considerable progress in HIV care and treatment, innovative HIV prevention interventions and approaches to reach adolescents and young women, are needed urgently.
The cycle of new infections among adolescent girls and young people is on the increase creating more concerned whether young people are ignorant or they ignore the information being provided to them on the issue. According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) 2014 research, nearly half of all adolescents living with HIV globally were living in six countries, five of which are in the African region. In Eastern and Southern Africa, 74 percent of the new infections among adolescents are among girls aged 15-19 and AIDS-related illnesses are the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age. Are young people ignoring the information that is being provided to them?
Commenting on the issue, African Youth and Adolescents Network (AfriYAN) secretary- general in Namibia, Ashwell Wayne, says young people are not ignorant, they just know what they want, when and how they want it. He adds that young people can never deny information that is there but the greater question is whether the information being provided is youth friendly and is communicated to the right people and in the right way? “We must understand that we can never reach out to young people of the 21st century using outreach technology of the 14th century,” he says.
Wayne goes on that many people claim that young people are ignorant but what they don’t understand is that they do not start leading this outreach programmes then the battle cannot be won because young people need the information to be presented in a certain way that is suitable for them.
He adds that many programmes that are in the name of youths and adolescents are not reaching the people that it should and for as long as they are not reaching the target groups, new infections will continue with un-understood information.