Responding to the heightened vulnerability of young women and adolescent girls to HIV, the Government of South Africa has launched a nationwide HIV prevention campaign, a Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
Entitled: “SheConquers”, the three-year, multi-million rand campaign was launched at a session hosted by the South African Ministry of Health during the 21st International AIDS Conference, taking place in Durban, South Africa.
Across sub-Saharan Africa, HIV is a leading cause of deaths among adolescents aged 10-19, and two-thirds of all new HIV infections among adolescents occur among adolescent girls.
Only a quarter of girls and a third of boys are estimated to have full understanding of how HIV is transmitted and can be prevented.
The session included presentations and demonstrations of innovative prevention strategies to ensure tailored in-school and out-of-school programmes for young women and adolescent girls, including for HIV testing, condom distribution, sexual and reproductive health and sexually transmitted infection management.
“SheConquers” is built around a five-point strategy that aims to decrease new HIV infections, teenage pregnancies and gender-based violence among young women and adolescent girls, and to increase and retain young women and adolescent girls in school and increase economic opportunities for young people, particularly young women.
At the occasion, South Africa’s First Lady, Ms. Thobeka Zuma said: ‘We invite the world to actively engage to save our girls. Saving girls is not a future event, but a present reality.”