According to the behavioral studies of Rwanda youth, the proportion of sexually active young men and women aged 15-24 years increased from 34 to 39 percent among young men and 20 to 26 percent among young women between 2006 and 2009.
HIV prevalence among youth aged 15-24 years in Rwanda is estimated at 1.0 percent, public officials announced as campaigns for World AIDS Day (WAD) kicks off today.
Rwanda is, however, concentrating efforts on the reduction of HIV transmission among youth, as the main focal point for this year’s World AIDS Day.
A three-month campaign, to sensitizing the youth against AIDS kicks off today, under the theme, “Youth,let us join efforts in protecting ourselves and others against HIV for a brighter future.”
The Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) Director General, Dr. Anita Asiimwe said that this year’s AIDS awareness campaigns will be held in secondary schools, universities and in villages.
Jessy Dukunde 18, a senior four student at Apapaire School, Kacyiru says she is informed about HIV and knows how to protect herself.
“I get information regarding HIV- AIDS from my peers and media campaigns. There are many billboards that emphasize the role of condoms in preventing HIV and at church they also encourage us to abstain,” she said.
Dukunde added that she can freely talk about sex and HIV with her friends but not her parents. She however says that there is a lot of publicity regarding HIV-AIDS so parents’ role is simplified.
Derrick Musanganire, a 19-year old resident of Kabeeza said the Anti-AIDS clubs in schools have been instrumental in helping youth get information on disease.
Dancilla Nyirabera, a mother of six and trader at Giporoso market says that focusing on the youth is a good idea because they are the most sexually active.
“We therefore, need to sensitize them more on AIDS. There’s little parent-child dialogue on sexual reproductive health and AIDS since parents assume that this is a teacher’s role which isn’t true. Parents should also play their role and talk to their children,”Nyirabera says.