‘Youths key in HIV/ AIDS response’ – Rumphi NGO

National HIV and AIDS programmes that will empower youths to protect themselves remain key in mitigating the further spread of the pandemic, GEMACCADET, a youth organization based in Rumphi has said.

GEMACCADET Executive Director Thinkho Mhango told Nyasa Times in an interview on the sidelines of a 10 day training on peer education his organization is conducting for youths drawn from Rumphi district.

Mhango said there is need for government and other stakeholders to deliberately formulate programmes that will promote a health seeking behaviour among adolescent youths.

Thinkho Mhango: Health lifestyle

“This will encourage delayed sexual debuts and ensure that youths seek friendly HIV testing and counselling services,” Mhango said.

He said it is against this background that his organization is implementing a one year prevention of HIV and AIDS among the youth project in T/A Chikulamayembe in Rumphi district which seeks to empower youths as channels for behaviour change.

The project is being funded by the national AIDS Commission (NAC) to the tune of K11 million.

He said HIV and AIDS continue to wreck havoc among young people within the age bracket of 15-45 as they are significantly contributing to new HIV infections every year.

Mhango  said focusing on interventions to halt the spread of HIV among the youths would therefore be of paramount importance in HIV and AIDS response.

“Youths need to be at the focal point of every intervention. Halting new infections among the youths would therefore be key to curbing the pandemic,” he said.

Rumphi District AIDS Coordinator Martin Mkandawire called for individual behaviour change among the youths.

Mkandawire also urged the youths to go for VCT, abstain from sexual and ensure delayed sexual debuts.

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