“We need to ensure increased access to information – ensuring adolescent girls and boys can get the information they need about sex, reproductive health and sexuality – and that when they have this information they are able to access the necessary services without stigma or risk of disclosure,”Haile said.

Haile was addressing delegates at the launch of the united continental “All In” adolescent HIV campaign by the president of the Organization of African First Ladies against AIDS (OAFLA), Lordina Mahama, at the ongoing conference on sexual health and rights in Accra.

The All In Initiative is a new platform for action to drive better results for adolescents by encouraging strategic changes in policy and engaging more young people in the effort.

This has resulted in calls to listen, involve and include young people in HIV programming.
AIDS is the leading cause of death among adolescents in Africa.

According to UNAIDS’ data, adolescents are the only age group in which deaths due to AIDS are not decreasing, with only just over a quarter of girls and a third of boys having a full understanding of how HIV is transmitted and can be prevented.

He commended the OAFLA for helping to break the conspiracy of silence on HIV and the social determinants that heighten risk to infection.

The campaign focuses on four key action areas – namely, engaging, mobilizing and empowering adolescents as leaders and actors of social change; improving data collection to better inform programming; encouraging innovative approaches to reach adolescents with essential HIV services adapted to their needs; and placing adolescent HIV firmly on political agendas to spur concrete action and mobilize resources.

Mahama said, in line with the global commitment to UNAIDS’ 90-90-90 fast-track targets of ending AIDS, Africans must stop new HIV infections among adolescents, especially young women, and ensure AIDS is no longer the leading cause of death among that age group.

She said the First Ladies were committed to realizing these actions across the entire African Continent, urging the delegates to take advantage of their unique positions in society and the various organizations they represented and do everything possible to sensitize their constituents about HIV.

According to her, the OAFLA will impress upon their governments the need to allocate adequate resources for the provision of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents. Enditem

Source: Xinhua


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