A total of 2000 youth were tested for HIV during an Imbuto Foundation’s health campaign.
Local and religious leaders also trained in sexual reproductive health as well as HIV/Aids prevention.
The campaign was implemented in 12 districts across the country through community-based organisations under Imbuto Foundation’s Mountain Movers project that promotes HIV/Aids prevention among youth aged 15 to 24.
The campaign was launched in Ngororero District last December under the theme: “Nkuyobore ku Buzima” loosely translated to mean; (Let me lead you to good health) and was later taken to other districts including Gasabo, Kicukiro, Nyamasheke, Rubavu,Rusizi, Nyabihu,Karongi and Musanze.
During the campaign, youth voluntarily tested for HIV/Aids. Out of over 2,000 youth that tested, only 13 were found HIV positive, officials said.
Around 445 local leaders acquired training and over 17,000 youth participated in discussions about sexual reproductive health and HIV/Aids.
Speaking at the closure of the campaign yesterday, Imbuto Foundation officials said statistics showed a decline in HIV/Aids prevalence among the youth.
They however challenged local leaders to continue sensitising youth about sexual reproductive health, their rights and HIV/Aids preventive measures.
The officials urged local leaders to include adolescent sexual reproductive health and HIV/Aids prevention education on their daily agenda so as to help curb HIV/Aids infection in the country.
“Local leaders often have direct interaction with residents and despite their busy schedules, they should include sexual reproductive health and HIV/Aids prevention in whatever they do to help the youth maintain good health,” said Regine Iyamuremye, the Imbuto Foundation representative in Musanze.
Iyamuremye said she was optimistic that local leaders will use the skills acquired from the training to influence behaviour change among the youth.
“Local leaders will continue sensitising you about sexual reproductive health and HIV/Aids. However, the future is in your hands,” she told the youth.
Participants committed to helping teach the youth about their sexual reproductive health to prevent new HIV infections.
“I am a pastor and have many followers, including the youth. I will help them understand sexual reproductive process and preach abstinence from sex before marriage,” said Rev Pastor Alphonse Ruberanziza, the head of the Pentecostal church in Musanze.
Some youth said they were ready to exercise self-restraint to avoid contracting HIV.
“I know HIV/Aids kills and I also know that prevention is better than cure,” said Blaise Mudahemuka a Senior Three student.
Musanze District mayor Winifiride Mpembyemungu pledged district support to local leaders in the fight against the virus spread.