NGOMA — Youth in the country have been advised to test for HIV/AIDS in order to know their status, if they are to live longer and plan well for a good future.
Archdeacon Augustine Gashumba, of Gahima Archdeaconry, made the call yesterday during activities to mark the district World AIDS Day at the Anglican Church of Rwanda (EER) - Gahima Archdeaconry.
He advised the youth to use their capacity to influence positive change in the fight against the epidemic- that has claimed millions of people in the whole world since its discovery in 1980s.
An estimated 22 million adults and children are living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa at the end of 2007.
During the same year, an estimated 1.5 million Africans died of AIDS. The epidemic has left behind some 11.6 million orphans in Africa.
The activities were marked under the theme; “Promotion of HIV Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) among couples in particular and the general population, as a measure to reduce new HIV infections.”
The function attracted all primary and secondary school pupils sponsored by Compassion International in the Ngoma district.
The NGO is a Christian child advocacy ministry, seeking to bail children out of poverty and build their spiritual lives to become responsible fulfilled Christian adults.
In Ngoma district, it sponsors 1,640 children in both primary and secondary schools.
Close to 1,620 have tested for HIV/AIDS in which 45 of them were found infected.
Gaudence Usabyarahabwa, the compassion students’ representative said: “This pandemic (Aids) has left our country helpless, orphans and widows on the increase.”
She called on fellow youths to abstain from sex or use condoms as a last resort to avoid contracting the virus-and use their efforts to transform the country.
The celebrations started with a procession from the district headquarters, about five kilometres from where the celebrations were held.