HIV positive teenagers call for behavioral change

More than 5,000 youth from around the City of Kigali, yesterday, converged at Amahoro National Stadium to take part in the launch of the World Aids Day (WAD) campaign. The nationwide campaign will run for three months. It kicked off with a procession from KBC to the stadium, where scores undertook voluntary HIV counseling and testing.
Youth walk to Amahoro National Stadium to mark the World Aids Day yesterday. The New Times / John Mbanda.
Youth walk to Amahoro National Stadium to mark the World Aids Day yesterday. The New Times / John Mbanda.

More than 5,000 youth from around the City of Kigali, yesterday, converged at Amahoro National Stadium to take part in the launch of the World Aids Day (WAD) campaign.

The nationwide campaign will run for three months.

It kicked off with a procession from KBC to the stadium, where scores undertook voluntary HIV counseling and testing.

The campaign is running under theme: “Youth, let us join efforts in protecting ourselves and others against HIV for a brighter future”.

Speaking to The New Times, Jane, 17 (not real name), one of the youth born and living with HIV and Aids, called on her peers to desist from reckless sexual behaviors which expose them to possible HIV infection.

She also urged Rwandans not to segregate and stigmatize people living HIV/Aids, and encouraged those infected to live positively. The teenager said she was born with HIV/Aids but got to know about it when she was 12. She said that she accepted her condition and vowed she would go on to lead a productive life. She also asked people living with HIV/Aids to take their antiretroviral treatment seriously and to avoid unprotected sex since it might attract new infections.

Jean Paul, 19 (not real name), another teenager infected with HIV/Aids, called on the youth to abstain from sex until marriage, but supported use of condoms should abstinence fail.

He urged HIV testing, saying everyone needed to know their status to be able to take appropriate measures.

An estimated 3 percent of Rwandans live with HIV, while 1 percent of the youth aged 15-24 are HIV positive.

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