Youths urged to abstain from HIV risk behaviours

MANAGEMENT and Development for Health (MDH) organisation has asked youths in the country to change individual behaviours that put them at high risk of contracting HIV.

MDH Director for Monitoring and Evaluation Dr Lameck Machumi made the call here recently saying that individual behaviour change among young people was the most effective factor towards the prevention of HIV transmission.

“Behaviour change is the number one factor in the fight against HIV and AIDS especially among youngsters,” he said.

Dr Machumi also called for stakeholders involved in the HIV/AIDS cure in partnership with the government to put in place comprehensive HIV prevention programmes and services that will empower youths to take precautions against HIV transmission amongst themselves.

He said the programmes should focus on reducing risky behaviours, provide prevention education in schools, homes and in the community.

“For us to achieve positive results in the fight against HIV transmission among young people, we (government and stakeholders) should come up with comprehensive prevention education programmes about risks and skills to help empower young people towards preventing themselves from new HIV infections,” he said.

On the other hand, MDH Senior Retention and Community Linkage Manager Dr Irene Andrew insisted on the need for young women in the country to always choose less risky behaviours that lead them into becoming infected with HIV.

She said young women aged between 15 to 24 years bear the burden of new HIV infections among young people in the country.

Latest available UNAIDS Global HIV/AIDS update 2022 indicates that 30 per cent of the people infected with HIV/AIDS in the country are youngsters aged between 15 to 24 years.

On the other hand, the report indicated in 2022 some 212 young girls between the ages of 15 and 24 acquired new HIV infections in Tanzania.

Meanwhile, Dr Irene said MDH which focuses primarily on public health services, reach and training has implemented numerous interventions to meet the 95-95-95 goals for HIV testing, treatment and viral suppression among various groups of people including young people in the country.

The organisation that works in partnership with the government operates in 22 regions implementing initiatives such as HIV/AIDS, Medical Assisted Therapy, COVID 19-Vaccine, Laboratory Services among others.

Recently, President Samia Suluhu Hassan issued several directives aimed at intensifying the fight against HIV/AIDS in the country with the aim of attaining the global and national target of ending the epidemic.

She issued the instructions during the World AIDS Day commemoration in Lindi Region, which is marked on every December 1.

The goal of the current global HIV target is to end the disease as a public health threat by 2030, while Tanzania aims at ending it by 2026.

In her speech, Dr Samia instructed the Ministry of Health, the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) and various stakeholders to direct more efforts in preventing new infections in the country.

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