THE young people being technologically savvy have come up with the Y+ to end Aids and they are running a campaign to advocate for adolescents and young people living or affected with HIV to demand sexual reproductive health rights.December 1 was World Aids Day globally. Tag Y+ network ran the campaign on Facebook following hashtag #WorldAidsDay2016.
Young people are the worst affected with new HIV infections and a serious re-look at the sexual reproductive health rights needs to be taken out of the box. This is no longer business as usual, it is business unusual if we are to turn the tide of new HIV infections to a minimal if not zero new HIV infection.
A young person from Zimbabwe, Annah Sango, said perhaps we are not doing enough. A sobering thought indeed, are we doing enough to end Aids? A quote from Annah “. . . perhaps we have not done anything to eradicate HIV and Aids until will have addressed our own levels of accountability . . .”
How right she is, have I addressed my own levels of accountability before I hurry to ask others to be responsible and be integrative enough on the issue of HIV and Aids.
Annah is tired of sessions where men speak for women, their rights and issues affecting them as if there are no women to speak for themselves. She also sees policy where human rights are said, but these in the end fall short of addressing the very needs they were made for.
She chides those working in the field of HIV and Aids, organisations and governments who speak of commitment with less action to show for it. Annah sees women bearing the brunt of HIV and Aids, societal and cultural abuse which put them at increased risk for HIV and Aids.
Annah said if these abuses affected men even by half, then real action would have been taken long back.
Annah is dismayed at seeing the abuse even written into law.
Below is an extract of the interview with Annah.
“What keeps me going is God and the zeal to reach out to many young women and children’s lives and also to see my children graduate and start a family as well. “The important thing to note is that you as an individual what is your take on yourself. You should hold your head up high irrespective of your status,” said Annah.
Annah is happy of success scored today, but feels more can still be done.
“We have been mentioned in a number of international sessions as a success story of what a country can do on its own. The Aids Levy is well managed, but we need to have more home-based resources.
“As a nation, people have heard the HIV message, but we do not need to slacken it must be drummed up every day. Put it on the national agenda. Some people need a lot of education and knowledge in terms of respecting and honouring other human beings because irrespective of one’s status we are all equal,” said Annah.
Annah sees hope in ending Aids, but acknowledges that we have to have a collective effort.
“Yes, that is possible, together we are greater than Aids. Together we can overcome the tide of new HIV infections. “There are people who were born HIV positive and are now ready to begin families, they need support. With science and medicine it is now possible that HIV positive mothers can have negative babies. Yes, I can see an Aids free-generation, but that begins with you and me. It is more of an attitude to change the tide of new HIV infections, it is possible if we all pull in the right direction,” said the affable Annah.
“I also see community integration as an important integral if we are to stop stigma and end Aids.
Annah has gone beyond the stigma bar and no longer feels it.
“I no longer feel any stigma. When one is open you tend to free yourself from that. Some of the stigma really stems from ignorance. I attribute this to lack of knowledge. I also note that the community needs education on how to engage to provide awareness on care and support when living with ill relatives.
Annah plans on reaching out to more women and girls and save lives.
“Right now I am doing that and I am looking forward to reaching out to more lives. Reaching out to young women in my community, empower young women and empower myself too because learning does not have a limit.
I declare that as a positive person I am beyond that diagnosis,” said the 28-year-old mother of two.
“We have to show the world that we