Student leaders urged to fight HIV

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Participants in the workshop on HIV pose for a group photo after the event. (Francis Byaruhanga)

Female university student leaders have been urged to sensitise their colleagues on the consequences of HIV/AIDS.

During an event held in Kigali on Saturday, the student leaders were also told to preach abstinence until marriage as one way of keeping the pandemic at bay. The event attracted female university leaders, nurses and staff from various NGOs. 

Addressing the participants, Christine Ndandali, a senior nurse at San Francisco Project, said there are still gaps in addressing the scourge among the mostly affected segment of the population, which is women and youth.

She said there is need to put more emphasis on mobilising women to adopt friendly policies like taking drugs in case they get infected.

According to National Health Demographic Statistics report of 2015, adolescents are the victims of HIV/AIDS-related infections because most of them engage in risky sexual behaviour.

Jean D’ amour Mutoni, the programme director at Health Development Initiative, Rwanda, urged the student leaders to sensitise their fellow youth and young women living with HIV about the need for early testing and abstinence. Health Development Initiative organised the workshop.

“Tell and teach the youth at your University about the HIV national programmes cannot be achieved without your mobilisation,” he said.

Annet Rutayisire, a student at Catholic University of Rwanda pursuing public health and nutrition, said a big number of girls fear pregnancy more than HIV, which results in getting infected as they care less about prevention measures.

“There are many interventions in place that can be used in the prevention of HIV/AIDS and all universities should provide them,” she noted.