Whilst the global AIDS response has made magnificent gains, AIDS remains biggest killer of adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa. The number of adolescents dying AIDS related deaths has tripled since 2000.
We now know that the sky is not the limit. Our future is in our hands. Let us unite and build the future of Africa.
– Bongile, Bright Futures Programme, South Africa
AIDS related deaths are completely avoidable, but adolescents face unique barriers accessing treatment. In communities where we work, adolescents also face other serious challenges. Some of these have a catastrophic effect on teenager’s ability to attend school. Our projects improve adolescents’ health, lives, and future prospects.
Our Community Health Workers help young people living with HIV overcome the challenges that stop them accessing treatment, and we are also working in schools to help young people finish their education.
I feel good and at the same time bad. Because those drugs as much as you hate it - you need to take them but it help us to be like other people.
-Adolecent boy with HIV, South Africa
For young people with HIV stigma and discrimination make life difficult. They need knowledge about the virus and its treatment, consistent medication, and emotional and practical support to stay healthy – without this adolescents all too often choose to stop medication.
We train and employ 18-24 year olds living with HIV to work as Community Health Workers (CHW) for adolescents. Young CHW with personal experience living with HIV act as ‘Peer Supporters;’ they are uniquely equipped to counsel other young people as they struggle with adherence to treatment, disclosure and stigma, and work through their fears about their own mortality and living with a chronic disease.
Young people, particularly those who are not in school, are also vulnerable to contracting HIV.
In South Africa, too many adolescent girls are affected by rape and sexual abuse, HIV, teenage pregnancy, and managing menstruation with a lack of private toilet facilities, all of which severely affect their ability and inclination to attend school. In the areas we work in almost half of girls don’t complete secondary school and are less likely to find jobs as a result.
Our schools based project, Bright Futures empowers and educates girls reaching puberty (11-14 years old) in South Africa.
We educate girls and boys on HIV, sexual health, puberty and gender equality and gender based violence and equip them with essential life and business skills to broaden their prospects after school.
In sub-Saharan Africa 70% of 15-19 year olds don't have comprehensive HIV knowledge.
£35 pays for a young person to learn how to protect themselves and master other vital skills