Rising rates of HIV and Aids, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and unintended pregnancies are a primary reproductive health concern for the youth, and thus awareness and education around National Condom Week is a high priority in South Africa. According to the United Nations Development Programme the youth are most affected by HIV. 430,000 youth per year are infected with the disease in east and southern Africa, however HIV education and awareness remains below 40%. STDs continue to grow at an alarming rate including chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis which also can increase one’s risk of contracting HIV. Over 120,000 girls between the ages of 10 and 19 became registered mothers in 2017 according to Statistics South Africa.
YAA is one of the leading youth-led initiatives that provides awareness campaigns and sex education in schools and youth facilities across the world. Focussed on talking about sexuality, HIV, and other STDs in their workshops, the organisation provides a safe space for young people to gain knowledge and get educated free from exclusion or fear of stigma.
“YAA are involved in many innovative initiatives across southern Africa including a pilot for condom vending machines in high schools. Their peer-to-peer approach is perhaps the most important, where youth engage with youth and tackle the biggest challenge which is open, candid conversation to consummately drive desperately needed education and awareness. ACDOCO SA and LifeStyles Healthcare plan to get even further involved leveraging its commercial and state networks in addition to digital and social media augmentation,” states Jason Frichol, ACDOCO SA’s Managing Director.
“At LifeStyles we are committed to work with local partners to help prevent the spread of HIV and support the millions of people living with HIV in our local communities and around the world by doing our part to raise awareness about the issues surrounding HIV and Aids. Joint collaboration with YAA and ACDOCO SA is a natural extension of our efforts in South Africa,” comments Jeyan Heper, CEO of LifeStyles Healthcare.
“We are the generation which can end Aids, so it is now up to us to make the difference. Together with ACDOCO SA we want to make an impact in the global HIV response. With local partners we tackle the biggest challenges and realise with our peer-to-peer approach and condom vending machines in schools first important steps in our common fight against HIV/Aids,” concludes Daniel Nagel, Chairman & CEO of Youth against Aids.