Recently an HIV Awareness Week was held in Lesotho. Soccer games were organized where free HIV testing was offered to the players and spectators. The activities were organised and hosted by the youth of a Dorcas supported project.
Soccer and free HIV testing All sportsmen of the 16 boys and 4 girls teams underwent an HIV test. Within 15 minutes they received the results and walked away proudly wearing an orange bracelet to indicate their bravery. The teams were loudly supported by youth from surrounding villages. Also they were encouraged to get tested. In this way, an important message was merged with celebration and fun for all.
Police presence The commander and officers of the local police station spoke to the youth about the looming reality of abduction and sexual abuse of young girls. Some of them are lured to South Africa under the false promise of a job and then sold into the sex trade. The officers mixed with the spectators to raise awareness of the dangers related to sexual abuse and sex work. And they served as examples, by being tested for HIV.
HIV/aids hits the youth Almost a quarter of the people between 15-49 years old in Lesotho is HIV positive, which is among the highest rates of the world. There are around 130,000 orphans due to the epidemic and 28,000 youth under 14 are living with HIV. Young people are most affected by the epidemic and can play an important role to halt the HIV/aids epidemic by targeting them in a positive and age-appropriate way.
HIV testing as a first step HIV testing can be a first step to a responsible and healthy lifestyle. It is important to find out whether someone is infected with HIV or not, so that appropriate precautions can be taken. This can mean either to prevent infection with the virus, or to make sure that that the lifestyle secures a healthy life as long as possible.