During 14 and 15 December 2015, 29 adolescents in Mozambique representing all provinces were invited to participate in a Multi-sectoral National Meeting to develop a response to address the HIV situation affecting about 120,000 new infections in adolescents a year.
MAPUTO, Mozambique, 30 March 2016 – During 14 and 15 December 2015, 29 adolescents in Mozambique representing all provinces were invited to participate in a Multi-sectoral National Meeting to develop a response to address the HIV situation affecting about 120,000 new infections in adolescents a year.
In Mozambique, the HIV prevalence in girls aged between 15 and 24 is three times higher than in boys of the same age. The meeting was an opportunity to reflect on key aspects of the national HIV situation affecting adolescents and the main results of ALL IN, a social movement based in 18 countries of sub-Saharan Africa, including an assessment of the programming to prevent HIV in adolescents.
The meeting involved more than 100 participants, such as representatives of national and provincial Government, development partners, civil society, representatives of youth groups and networks and members of the United Nations.
The Deputy Minister of Health, Mouzinho Saide, explained the participation of adolescents in decision-making on policies and strategies that relate to their health is necessary to prevent and respond to HIV. “We have to discuss these issues and find solutions together with the adolescents in order to develop a national response to HIV infection because they can tell us the priority actions to accelerate the response, and improve the quality of their health”.
The Deputy National Director of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social affairs, Sansão Buque, said that education for girls is a catalyst for a decent living, “Educated girls are able to make decisions that affect their lives and will be able to receive and share information contributing to the prevention of HIV and other harmful practices.”
According to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Mozambique, Edgar Monterroso, it is important to involve the leadership and strength of teenagers to respond to HIV. He said, “There's a lot of investment to help Mozambique in reaching this goal, as the recent inquiry into violence against the child demonstrated an urgent need to support the development of policies that will protect and promote children’s rights.”
UNAIDS Director, José Enrique Zelaya, said that Mozambique faces great challenges to reduce new HIV infections. “Child marriages, inter-generational and transactional sexual relationships put teens at greater risk of violence and HIV infection,” he explained. “However, we are all here together to share our knowledge and perceptions to decrease the risk and vulnerability of teenagers.”
Young people also aspire to greater participation in decision-making on plans and programmes that concern them. “We recognize that it is our duty to make proper choices about our health and recreation, such as postponing the start of sexual activity, engagement in studies, participation in sports activities, advocacy and access to quality health services,” said Suzete André, a 16 year old participant who represented other adolescent members of the ALL IN platform.
The ALL IN platform aims to create a social movement for obtaining improved results in decreasing HIV among adolescents through changes in programs and policies. It focuses on priority actions to accelerate and improve the quality of the response of national HIV response in adolescents.
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