Sunday, June 16, 2024

New HIV infections among adolescents worrying

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Government says the country has in recent years been recording an increase in the number of new HIV infections, especially among adolescents.

Northern Province Permanent Secretary, Bernard Mpundu said young people between the ages of 10 and 24 years, especially young women and young key populations, have continued to be disproportionately affected by HIV.

Mr Mpundu said research has shown that the number of young people with HIV infections is likely to double in Africa by 2050.

The Provincial Permanent Secretary has since advised all districts in the province to be involved in reducing new HIV infections by holding such gatherings in their localities.

“Going forward, we wish to involve our chiefs and all traditional leaders to take such initiatives in their areas,” he said.

Mr Mpundu said this in a speech read on his behalf by his deputy Lewis Mwape at the official opening of the first Northern Province Adolescent Youth Indaba in Kasama.

The Permanent Secretary said the indaba has come at the right time, adding that the government is interested in such initiatives as it will help recognise the gap and find solutions to the increased infection cases.

Mr Mpundu also called for concerted efforts to address the prevailing issue.

“The purpose of this provincial adolescent health Indaba is to develop high-quality HIV and sexual reproductive health rights (SRHR) interventions to reduce child marriage, unwanted and repeated pregnancies, HIV and STI’s among young people,” he said.

The Permanent Secretray called on the province to develop consensus on the role of young people in addressing the difficulties they face by engaging them.

And Kasama Mayor Theresa Kolala attributed the increase in the number of new infections among adolescents to the exposure of children to the internet.

“I urge adolescents and youths to refrain from involving yourselves in illicit behaviors that endanger your health,” she said.

She has called on adolescents to utilize their time to do meaningful activities that will add to their personal growth.

Kasama District Commissioner, Elizabeth Goma said government has prioritized the empowerment of youths through grants and skills training under the Constituency Development Fund to help keep them busy and away from activities such as drug and alcohol abuse and sexual activities.

Provincial health office representative, Evans Sandala noted that the population of youths in the province grew from over 296,000 to over 314,00 which entails the need to provide targeted health services for a healthy and productive youthful population.

Meanwhile, Rodah Bwalya who spoke on behalf of the youths thanked government for the initiative that is aimed at helping young people to take an active role in closing the tap of new HIV infections through meaningful youth engagement, innovation and leadership.

“The presence of all government officials shows that government is interested in issues that adolescents face and it gives us hope,” she said.

The first Northern Province Adolescent Youth Indaba will be held for two days under the theme: ‘Closing the tap of new HIV infections through meaningful youth engagement, innovation and leadership.’

3 COMMENTS

  1. Mwine Lubemba warned you about the introduction of comprehensive sex education in primary schools and you’re getting about the outcome? You’ve created a nursery of guinea pigs for imperialists to test the new AIDS remedies. Life is hard in a nation of educated idioots

  2. High levels of poverty under upnd means young women desperate to open their legs for a ka pamela. Most of upnd ministers ar

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