Rozaria Memorial Trust organized one day capacity building workshop for young people living with HIV aged between 14-22 years on SRH and HIV at Murewa Culture Centre on the 9th of August. A total of 16 YPLHIV took part in the skills building training.
The workshop explored sexual development in adolescents; be it for those HIV positive or those HIV negative. There was a recognition that most of the adolescents are already in sexual relations whilst others plan to do so in the near future.
Information was shared on preventive practices as a mitigation measure against spreading of HIV to sexual partners, avoid re-infections and make informed decisions on issues of family planning. Some service provision places such as schools, health institutions, Faith Based Centers were identified as being vital in providing the adolescents and youth with safe space to share issues on HIV and sexuality.
The participants reviewed that they were finding it difficult to engage in relationships as they are afraid of revealing their status to a partner. Also, there is lack of Youth Friendly Services within the district where the children can share and get information in connection with their sexual needs. It was noted that most secondary schools do not have active lessons on HIV and SRH.
- A number of recommendations were given out by the participants. These include the following:
- There is need for on-going trainings and awareness on HIV and SRH for young people both in school and out of school.
- Youth Friendly Corners should be established especially at the health institutions.
- Community Care Givers and traditional/religious leaders’s skills for counselling and advice should be strengthened on SRH for young people in the context of HIV.
- Government policies should take into account the sexual needs and desires for YPLHIV.
- YPLHIV should be confident enough to share their personal feelings and seek counseling services on issues of sexual desires and aspirations.
RMT is providing on-going skills building services for both infected and affected YPLHIV, not only on SRH but also on handling negative emotions and situations that result from one being HIV positive. Such kind of information empowering initiatives helps YPLHIV to deal with negative emotions and stress, and to communicate effectively through strengthening personal confidence and mental focus.