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World News: SENEGAL: First Lady launches new HIV-AIDS awareness campaign Black Habits Articles With condom use losing favour among young people, Senegal’s first lady Viviane Wade has launched a six-month HIV-AIDS awareness campaign targeted at the country’s youth.

Kicking off the six-month campaign on World Aids Day on Thursday, Wade told a crowd of youngsters at a health centre that “youth are the most vulnerable to HIV infection.” “In 40 African countries the voices of First Ladies are raised along with mine to prevent new HIV/AIDS infections from harming the future of young people and adolescents,” she said, referring to African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS, which promotes more responsible sexual behaviour. Ibra Ndoye, executive secretary of the National Council Against AIDS (CNLS), said that only 45 percent of youngsters used condoms in 2005 against 60 percent five years ago, according to the EDS IV health survey published this year. The campaign will urge testing for youngsters as well as pregnant women in order to protect future generations. As queues of young people lined up for a free test at the centre, Wade added that "the campaign will also target adults in order to create a family and economic environment that can enhance less risky sexual behaviour among youth." Wilfried, an 18-year-old who was waiting for the results of his test, said: "I've never had unprotected sex, but I want to know my status. That way if I’m positive I won’t pass it on.” In Senegal, HIV tests and antiretroviral treatments (ARVs) to prolong the lives of people living with the virus have been free of charge since January 2004. "The fight against AIDS is now a personal decision because the government for its part has fulfilled its role," said Health Minister Abdou Fall. "It takes individual willingness to change one's sexual behaviour," he added. According to the EDS IV study, Senegal has a low infection rate, of 0.7 percent. But Ndoye of the CNLS said low prevalence should serve as an incentive to continue the battle against the pandemic, and not to loosen up. "It is perhaps the beginning of the end," said Ndoye. "Now is the time for youngsters to change behaviour, consolidate abstinence and fidelity or use condoms."

Note: DAKAR, 2 Dec 2005 (IRIN/PLUSNEWS)
Posted on Sunday, December 04 @ 17:18:38 UTC by bspringer

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