Some say it’s empowering to learn your HIV status and to get tested. Others feel it’s better not to know, because of all the issues HIV can raise. My name is Sydney Hushie and I have four questions for you.
As a young person, I am interested in seeing a situation where all young people know their HIV status and can openly declare their status without fear of discrimination and stigmatization. One sure way of achieving this is for all young people to do get tested. From my video, you will lean about my passion about HIV and Voluntary Counseling and Testing facilities available in health centres and youth centers.
I have been working on HIV since I was 11years. 14 years down the line, I believe HIV has taken a youthful face. As a young boy, I visited the Fevers Unit of the General hospital in Ghana (which is also responsible for people living with HIV) and I was amazed at the level of neglect and discrimination that people living with HIV face. I was motivated to use my media access (radio) to draw attention to this injustice and create a platform for young people to be a part of the campaign to stop HIV/AIDS related stigma.
I have four questions I’d like to ask you
Next week, from July 18 to July 23, a conference on HIV/AIDS will be hosted in Vienna. This conference will be attended by policy makers, people working in the field, and people living with HIV. I am writing this blog-post from Vienna. Even though you can’t participate physically, you can participate and have your say online.
During the conference, there will be an interactive discussion hosted by UNAIDS, UNICEF, UNESCO, UNFPA, and WHO entitled: “Right For You! Creating Game Changing Strategies for HIV and Young People.” Please leave a comment below and reply to the four questions. We want to know what issues, comments and questions young people have about HIV.
I am inspired and believe that young people knowing our status will go along way to prevent the stigma we face.
I live in a small country on the West Coast of Africa; Ghana with a population of about 23 million. We currently have comparatively low prevalence standing at 1.9%. The prevalence has seen a gradual decline on the last three years from 3% in 2007 to the current rate. Ghana has a youthful population with over 50% below 35 years. Prevalence in Ghana is highest between 15- 49 years age group. Ghana has a National Commission on HIV which is the country’s coordinating body for the response in Ghana.
Many young people do not want to know their status mainly due to the fear of alienation by their friends, family and society. Think about a society where everyone knows his status and can freely talk about it. This is my motivation to want to encourage all young people to get tested. Fortunately, there are testing centres dotted around our communities and there are quick testing kits and free counseling in many youth centres and hospitals. Testing for HIV also gives our governments an idea about the numbers of people needing Anti Retroviral Therapy and adequately plan for them. Civil society will also be able to effectively advocate for increased access to ART and counseling and support services.
Leave comment, have your say
I hope you will join this discussion. A panel of experts will be answering some of the best responses and comments. They include Dr. Doug Kirby, an HIV researcher and author of The International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education and Darlington Muyambwa, a youth activist and programme manager of an organization providing information on HIV to students in Zimbabwe.
It’s an exciting way to interact with the international HIV/AIDS community, so join the Conversation! Your comments will also be part of a survey on HIV prevention. Let us know what you think about these important questions related to condoms by commenting on this blog-post
Did you miss the other video-blogs from the Conversation-series on Youth and HIV? You can read them here:
Sydney Hushie (25 ) is the Programmes Coordinator of the South Secretariat of the Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS based in Accra Ghana. Sydney is responsible for the 12 Regional Focal Points of the GYCA. He is also responsible for projects of the Coalition in Africa, Asia and South America. He has also been a radio and TV presenter on a number shows targeted at young people’s involvement in development. Sydney recently joined a team of young people in Oslo-Norway at the Young Leaders Summit organized by the Crown Princess of Norway and UNAIDS. Sydney has also in the past worked with the UNFPA, UNICEF, Plan International UNAIDS in Ghana.