Since 5 September 2005, a nationwide initiative engaging all secondary school students initiated Angola´s response to global campaign “Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS”, which is being supported by UNICEF. The campaign was implemented by the Ministry of Education and UNICEF in partnership with the Ministry of Health, UNAIDS, provincial Governments, NGOs and other actors involved in HIV/AIDS interventions.
During the 2005 school year, 590,000 secondary level school students ages nine - eighteen all over the country learned about the disease and the ways to avoid transmission. Under the theme, “I defend life, learning about AIDS”, a nationwide sensitization campaign on HIV/AIDS included educational activities in secondary school classrooms and engaged boys and girls in learning through reading, writing, reflection and playing drama.
Each secondary school has created an HIV/AIDS and Gender Club to make, starting in 2006, a bridge between adolescents, youth and their communities and Government policies and programmes in the area of HIV/AIDS. These clubs are set up to promote the prevention of the HIV virus, to promote awareness and contribute to remove any existing stigmas.
During this year the students were concentrated in the production of songs. On the third December representatives of each of 18 Angolan provinces will meet in the Luanda Youth Music Festival, for the final contest.
“Enjoy Life with Safety”
Ministry of Youth and Sports, in partnership with the National Institute for Fighting Against AIDS launched on the 7 June 2006, a HIV/AIDS Sensitization Campaign in the youth meeting points.
“Through this wide partnership which includes other actors involved in the sensitization about HIV/AIDS the Angolan Government intends to respond to several kinds of needs in the places where young people gather,” said the Vice-Minister of Youth, Albino da Conceição.
Under the theme “Enjoy Life with Safety”, the campaign used videos, music, artistic activities and radio and TV programs in a creative manner to launch appeals to children and adolescents from 15 to 18 years old.
The aim is to reach youth in discos, bars, wash cars places, churches, juvenile and sports centers, domestic video shows and other places were youth get together.
Angola’s population is markedly young, where 70 per cent of the population is less than 24 years old. Surveys consistently show that despite extensive information campaigns, the level of knowledge about HIV and AIDS prevention remains limited and the conversion into sustained behavioural change is low. A study conducted in 2003 about Sexual Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of Urban Youth in Angola revealed that 43 per cent of young people start their sexual life by 13 years of age and a significant number of youth had occasional unprotected sex.
In face of this evidence the campaign mobilized all youth leaders at all levels, including young musicians and artists, journalists, athletes, members of youth organizations and others with the objective of disseminating knowledge about prevention of sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS all over the country.
The campaign also counted on activists belonging to 18 NGOs, who deployed to youth meeting points in all 18 provinces of the country with information materials. The year campaign will be simultaneously closed with the School Campaign on 3rd December, with the launching of musical CD “Enjoy Life with Safety”.
“It is important to prioritize actions towards young people, especially on prevention. Youth represent a window of opportunity to revert the HIV incidence rates, especially if they have the knowledge to make educated choices, before they assume a risky behavior,” stated Dr. Ducelina Serrano, the Director of the National AIDS Institute.
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