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Spotlight on Adolescents and HIV Regional Interagency Thematic Team

Spotlight on  Adolescents and HIV Regional  Interagency Thematic Team

The team has steadily built a network of more than 100 young people who are now advocates and leaders on HIV programming.   The RITT works with youth from continental organisations such as Afriyan, Y+ and the United Movement -  consulting and involving them in various platforms and decision-making processes on matters pertaining to youth and SRHR.  

 Many of the youth in these networks are supported by 2gether 4 SRHR to represent at global conferences such as the International HIV and adolescents workshop in Zambia, attended by the First Lady, and the Global Forum for Adolescents. 

This story showcases the powerful words of Ruele, a young gay Kenyan non-binary person living with HIV, campaigning against stigma and advocating for ART adherence.

Ruele's story, by our colleagues in Zambia, validates why we must place young people at the heart of programme planning, especially in this region where young people bear the heaviest burden of the HIV epidemic. Eastern and Southern Africa is home to more than 60 per cent of children and adolescents worldwide living with HIV.

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Siyabonga Bhembe, AKA Progress, a young leader and SAM4SRHR Advocate from Eswatini 

Progress and innovation: Through the mobisafaids app, adolescents in Eswatini are changing SRH, HIV & GBV services. "A main concern voiced is the lack of confidentiality and privacy. In one facility near a main road, adolescents waiting for services could be seen by their community. Advocacy has led to the construction of a walled shelter. More adolescent are now coming for services."

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HIV advocate Zoe (24),  engaging with the first lady of Zambia Dr Mutinta Hichilema

 Zoe made four clear requests to the First Lady of Zambia at the International HIV and adolescents workshop in Zambia:

  1. Reduce the age of consent to test for HIV
  2. Make sexual reproductive health services available in the spaces where adolescents are; 
  3. Support mental health services for young people 
  4. Provide injectible ARTs. 

The First Lady met exclusively with the adolescents, listened to their ideas, and not only assured them of her unwavering support but also encouraged them to continue doing the great work.

The First Lady said “parents need to step up and play an active role in providing information and guidance to adolescents and young people on sexual and reproductive issues, especially that they are living in a digital world where adolescents and young people can get inaccurate information. I am happy to be here with young people and seeing them gathered here to discuss key issues that affect their health such as HIV"