HIV Awareness: A campaign for students, by students
HIV AWARENESS AND TESTING CAMPAIGN FOR CHILDREN 15-25 YEARS IN GABOCN
OCTOBER 2016 – MARCH 2017 (6 MONTHS)
This campaign fights HIV in Gabonese children in the context of the persistant epidemic present in the country (prevalence rate: 3.9%) In children, the prevalence rate is 1.5%. Considering the early sexual encounters, adolescents, especially young women, make up the majority of new infections. The finances dedicated by the state for HIV aid are not protected and therefore unpredictable. The healthcare system is undergoing a redesign, and for three years, the policies on public health surrounding HIV have had trouble being implemented. From education, the access to testing, and further, treatment and care, the system is subject to regular saturation and inflexibility. Thus, the population continues to lose confidence in the healthcare system and increasingly turn to traditional and religious beliefs.
Stoppons le wé là ! is a campaign made by the youth, for the youth. It is the fruit of a partnership between two civil society organzations (OPALS and AMS+) and the Directorate General of AIDS Prevention. The campaign has received support from UNAIDS Gabon, COLUSIMEN (the national Ministry of Education), and the Cooperation Service of the French Embassy in Gabon as well as private donors (Canal+ Gabon, SAS security, GCIAE, The Radisson Blu Libreville, Prix import, Sobraga, and private doners) as well as Paris City Hall which has supported OPALS’s actions in Gabon for many years.
The visual tools and the training of the team was finished in October. In November 2016 to March 2017, the organizers, the community agents, and the accompanying doctors from a technical team (laboratory technician and nurses) stepped in to inform, educate, and test the youths.
Considering the political and economic climat in the country, and following numerous teacher and graduate student strikes, our team had to adapted and evolve the initial campaign. The team spoke at middle and high schools in Libreville, Lambarene, Fougamou, Ndende, and Owendo (in progress), and also in the villages of Akanda, Libreville, and Owendo (inprogress) in public spaces.
Thanks to the intervention of our teams and the national and international appeals of the JMS in Lambarene, multiple City Halls in Gabon engaged themselves in the growth of the fight against AIDS in their community through this HIV education and testing campaign which was a great advance of the national plan.
This campaign, carried out in a dynamic manner and with a veritable synergy between the many partners, was a huge success for OPALS in Gabon. This report gives the first detailed statistics on the campaign. (Report in French.)