We hold the key in the war against HIV/AIDS, Kenyan youth tell the World

Amsterdam (Netherlands), 25 JULY 2018, (PSCU) –A group of Kenyan youth attending the Global summit on HIV/AIDS in Amsterdam sent a strong message Wednesday that the war against the disease cannot be won without the direct involvement of young people.

Speaking during a satellite session attended by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, the youth appealed to the National AIDS Control Council (NACC) to leverage on the internet space, sports and video devices to reach young people with inspiring and empowering messages related to HIV/AIDS.

The topic under discussion was: Youth leadership in Action: Lessons from Kenya and Beyond where the speakers called for differentiated messages targeting specific groups because the youth in “Nairobi are different from those in rural areas”

Ms Rebecca Nyakieya from Maisha Youth  said most young people in Kenya lack sufficient information to make informed decisions over their sexuality.

Maisha Youth is a virtual led movement inspiring and empowering millions of young people to make informed decisions.

Besides lack of information, those working on programs to fight HIV/AIDS hardly integrate the young people in their plans, said the youth

Rasheed David Ndung’u from the same youth organization said the exciting digital space, if well harnessed can be used to provide information and scale-up uptake of HIV/AIDS services among the young people.

He however added that not all youth have access to the digital space but can still be reached through sports and other video devices.

“There is need to create a network of young people who have access to empowering information through a targeted approach”, said Ndung’u

Makueni CEC for Health Andrew Mulwa said his County has been leveraging on music to reach the youth with HIV/AIDS messages

Other speakers said peer-to-peer and community engagements were effective platforms to share information about HIV at the grassroots

Dr Emmy Chesire, the NACC Deputy Director for technical support and co-ordination said it was inspiring to see young people take a lead in the war against  HIV/AIDS.

Referring to the First Lady, Dr. Chesire remarked: “You have heard the young people speak. They have spoken their minds”.

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has been at the forefront in the campaign towards the elimination of mother-to-child-transmission (eMTCT) of the virus and against new infections especially amongst the adolescents in Kenya.