Ethiopia: Reducing Youth HIV Vulnerability
However, currently much projects related to mitigating the prevalence rate of the virus has phase outed, financial support comes from abroad also is dwindled as the result, the rate of spread of the virus is rising and according to some reports it has also reached to the epidemic level.
Asnakech Sisay is a coordinator at the Debrebirhan University in the Secretariat of HIV Prevention and Control. As to her, most of the university students are youth which can be categorized in the vulnerable age group. Hence the secretariat diligently engaged in awareness creation to the use in order to understand the causes of HIV prevalence and to keep aside themselves from unwanted behavior.
In addition to these, with the collaboration of the Amhara State Health Bureau and other stakeholders, it offers education to the community.
The university HIV secretariat produce brochures which have relevant information with regard to vulnerability and distribute to students and pertinent officials. It also prepares talk-shows to raise awareness of students and the public at large about HIV with the collaboration of the Amhara Television. In addition to these, it provides training which focuses on reproductive health and life skills helpful to overcome peer pressure which provokes students for infatuation with opposite sex . In addition in case if some students suffer from emotional disturbance due to unmet feeling needs they will be given psychotherapy with intensive discussion.
Students are also given consultation service in order to with stand emotional challenges in two ways .One is through physical contact and the other is through telephonic discussion to keep their privacy.
According to Asnakech in dealing with HIV challenges, the secretariat has no a top down relation with students so that they can discuss problems freely without fear and anxiety.
The university has its own health science college and professionals from the college support the secretariat to strengthen their effort to reduce vulnerability.
It is undeniable fact that, both female and male students as youth naturally has bodily and emotional interest to have relation with opposite sex and if they properly manage it, they could draw lesson helpful to their future.
But if there is relation by imposition without the will of the other, their educational life might be negatively affected.
Eyerusalem Kinfe is working in Saint Paul Hospital Millennium College HIV AIDS Medication Examination Medicine Distribution as Coordinator Nurse as to her, whenever issues raised regarding vulnerability ,it should be considered the youth and the health educational institutions should provide courses related with HIV.
Currently the prevalence of the virus is on the rise and factors that contribute for vulnerability has became apparent in high schools and higher educational institutions and such situations are risking the youth health status. Chat chewing, alcohol drinking and drug smocking corners are flourishing in the surrounding areas of colleges and high schools and some students are already indulged themselves in addictions.
Chat chewing habits stimulate the youth to drink alcohol which ultimately provoke them to make unprotected sexual engagement.
As to Eyerusalem,It has been a common practice for female college students to relax with their boyfriends at the weekend without protecting themselves from sexually transmitted diseases including HIV AIDS . Their anxiety is only not to be pregnant. Information obtained from pharmacies indicated that most female students purchase post pill tablets which serves to protect them for 72 hours from pregnancy after their sexual engagement. During pharmacies gain a lot from their post pill sale. These all tell us how students develop risky behaviors which expose themselves to the HIV pandemic.
In order to reduce vulnerability, the Saint Paul Hospital signed a cooperative agreement with the Medhanealem Preparatory School. Based on the agreement the hospital provides training to students with regard to developing life skills, protecting themselves from the virus , sexually transmitted diseases and how to use condoms however, to make a difference the awareness creating task should not be confined in schools, it must be scale upped in the various segments of the society.
Nevertheless, according to Eyerusalem, awareness creation does not mean necessarily helps the vulnerable youth to achieve behavioral change. It needs un interrupted efforts which go for long. Currently it should be understood that the expansion of urbanization and the introduction of new Information Communication Technologies such as cyber, what sup vibes and other applications empowered the youth to broaden his/her contact with friends.
Such situation helps them to do things privately without the supervision of their parents. They can date their sexual partners through facebook. It is also common to see unprotected sexual intercourse through videos in some web sites
These all aggravates the youth vulnerability. Hence whatever measures that can take to protect the youth should take into accounts the aforementioned practices .