Kisumu hosts HIV summit for adolescents and youth in Africa

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Reducing HIV in Adolescents and Youth (RHAY) Conference kicked off at the Grand Royal Swiss Hotel in Kisumu.

The conference which is aimed at engaging the young people in the fight against the spread of HIV commenced on Tuesday 21st June and is meant to run for four days.

Among the invited guests were representatives from Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

With HIV prevention as the main topic, young people from Kenya and beyond graced the occasion to learn and to share.

According to a 2019 study, the number of new HIV infection stood at 460,000 with young women accounting for 280,000.

Speaking to Lake Region Bulleting at the event, 24 year old Amongi Sharon from Uganda said most young women do not feel comfortable with adult health workers.

This, she said could be a factor contributing to the higher number of infections among young women.

“The youth feel judged when they approach adults in health centers and this fear usually drives many of them away” she said.

Amongi who comes from the Lango region of Uganda, says about 7,200 adolescent and young people are infected with HIV with about 300 new infections every year in the area she comes from.

She added: “This forum is therefore a great way to inform and sensitize the young people in the region on the importance of reducing the spread of HIV.”

Fred Tai, a clinical officer from Vihiga County, said viral suppression is still a challenge among young people and should be critically looked into.

The event has been sponsored by among others, University of Washington, Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, Forgaty international Center and University of Pennsylvania.

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