MONTH OF YOUTH AGAINST HIV & AIDS
22 April 2012
Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC) launched its Month of Youth Against AIDS (MYAA) initiative in Palapye on the 28th February 2012, which was followed by smaller events held in Serowe, Francistown, Molepole and Ghantzi. Subsequent to these events the MYAA closing ceremony was held in Maun from the 29th until 31st March 2012.
This year's MYAA commemoration has been distinctive as it exclusively focuses on Safe Male Circumcision (SMC) in the endeavor to support the already existing national strategy on HIV prevention. The theme for this year's MYAA is; "Take Responsibility, Take Action" which included T=tagline Wise up … "Be smart, Get Trimmed".
The Month of Youth Against AIDS is held with the intention to raise the nations' (especially the youths') HIV and AIDS awareness levels and to enhance their resolve to fight the pandemic. The campaign in a nutshell is geared towards encouraging young people to participate in Safe Male Circumcision, to increase their knowledge on Safe Male Circumcision and to inspire the youth to practice responsible healthy behaviors.
he 2012 MYAA campaign will target 15, 000 youths to be circumcised by February 2013; hence the campaign will go on for a year unlike in the past. To ensure the target number is reached, Out of School Youth between the ages of 13-35 years will be targeted in strategic places such as Youth Centers, Youth Clubs and groups through Jam Session and other forms of edu-tainment..
Although Botswana has put in place preventive measures including an effective PMTCT program, BCCIC programs, HIV testing and counselling, blood safety program and STI management and control,
There is still a high rate of HIV transmission in the country.
Therefore, SMC is essential in adding to the existing strategies in preventing the spread of HIV infection.
In 2005, a randomized controlled trial conducted among uncircumcised men aged 18-24 years in South Africa showed that male circumcision reduced the risk of acquiring HIV infection by 60%