HIV And AIDS: What Young People Need To Know…


National Dialogue on the Study: “HIV, the Law and Human Rights in the  African Human Rights System: Key Challenges and Opportunities for  Rights-Based Responses to HIV | African Commission on Human and

 HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that damages the immune system and interferes with the body’s ability to fight infection and disease. HIV if uncontrolled with HIV drugs can progress to AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). HIV can be found in the body fluids- blood, Semen (cum) and pre-seminal fluid (pre cum), rectal fluids, vaginal fluid, saliva and breast milk…

HIV can be transmitted through unprotected vagina and anal sex with the HIV positive partner, sharing  needles syringes or other drug injection equipment, HIV positive mother can transmit infection to her baby during pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. HIV can also be transmitted through the transfusion of unscreened blood. This is less common because of the strong legislation on blood transfusion.

As a young person, the risk of contracting HIV increases with high risk behaviors. These high risk behavior include, having multiple sexual partners, having sex with one that is far older than you, engaging in transactional sex and not able to negotiate for condom use with partner, drugs and alcohol use that reduces your judgment on the use of HIV prevention commodities, sharing sharp objects including needle and syringes for those who use and inject drugs, engaging in anal sex without condom especially for young girls that want to preserve their virginity.

Is it possible for a young person to stay free of HIV infection?  The answer is YES! There are HIV prevention tools that can be used to prevent infection and stay free from HIV. In the early days of HIV, prevention approach was”ABC”, this stand for A-Abstinence. B- Be faithful to your partner, C-Consistence and correct use of condoms. Currently, we have more HIV tools that young people can use in addition to the ABC approach. These tools include PrEP (Pre exposure prophylaxis) which is an HIV drug taken by HIV negative people to prevent infection. PEP (Post exposure Prophylaxis) are taken by people that have been exposed to HIV through rape or breakage of condom during sex or through needle prick from HIV positive person. PrEP and PEP can always be accessed from the Health facilities. Other approach include HIV testing services to know your status, treatment of sexual transmitted infections so as to close the window for HIV infections.,  treatment as prevention which entails  placing  HIV positive person on treatment so the virus is suppressed and the person will not transmit the virus to the negative partner.

 Young people should always include their voices in asking the government, funding agency and the other relevant authorities to scale up HIV prevention programme for all young people in both the urban and rural communities so no one is left behind.