Sunday, April 29, 2012

AFAID HIV/AIDS Awareness Club parades in Mbalmayo, Cameroon

On February 11, 2012 Cameroonian youth celebrated the 46th National Youth Day in Cameroon. In the city of Mbalmayo, African Aid Organization, Inc. (AFAID) participated in the parade through its AFAID HIV/AIDS Awareness Club created and implemented in Mbalmayo Technical High School located in the city of Mbalmayo, Cameroon. Following the celebration, members of the club distributed HIV/AIDS awareness documents.

Given the serious consequences of HIV and other STD infections, AFAID has developed and implemented HIV/AIDS Awareness Clubs approach to effectively spread HIV prevention messages to all youth and the community as a whole in order to reduce HIV/AIDS at-risk behaviors. These Clubs can be described as an open discussion platform and a kind of social gathering where young girls and boys take an active role in the fight of HIV/AIDS and other STDs throughout the school year. AFAID offers prevention education to the members of the club by providing them with basic information about HIV/AIDS, its transmissions modes, and the dangers associated with behaviors that further HIV infection. AFAID also creates support networks and helps the students to develop better communication skills so that they can easily pass on information to their peers and families. In their activities, AFAID HIV/AIDS Awareness Clubs are also opened to youths that are out of school. In fact, young people are not only very interested in their sexual health, but they are also more eager to listen and accept information from their peers. These settings give them the capacity to improve their decision making process.

Youth, including school children, are particularly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS infection; therefore, they need appropriate, accurate, and timely HIV/AIDS education. The club activities include weekly meetings and monthly community-based outreach sessions to provide HIV/AIDS education that enable young people and their loved ones to make informed decision concerning sexual relations. Members of AFAID HIV/AIDS Awareness Clubs make a huge difference in helping their communities in the fight against the pandemic by communicating directly to their peers. Consequently, AIDS Awareness Clubs have a positive influence on young people. In sum, student participation in AIDS Awareness Clubs not only empowers young people to make responsible decisions about their sexual health, but it also provides them with tools to help inspire and encourage their respective communities to accept prevention messages.

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