As part of its strive to complement government efforts in increasing awareness on the prevention of HIV/ AIDS in Liberia, the Young Men Christian Association(YMCA) Bong County chapter in collaboration with the French Medical Charity Medicine Du Monde recently launched a mass awareness raising campaign on the prevention of HIV/AIDS in Gbarnga.
Speaking at the formal launch of the campaign on the campus of the Dolokelen Gboveh High School in Gbarnga, the Executive Director of Gbarnga YMCA Santo Gonzeh cautioned the youths who are sexually active to realize the importance of using condoms and adopt other preventive practices as a means of preventing themselves against this global disease that is claiming the lives of people as day passed.
The local YMCA boss indicated the campaign mainly is targeting youths in various school s across Gbarnga in order to equip them with the basic knowledge of HIV/AIDS to effectively enhance behavioral change that will allow them serve as agents of change where they fine themselves in fostering the national quest of the minimize the spread of the AIDS mainly amongst sexually active population.
He stressed the young people are strategic partners in the global effort to help minimize the spread of the deadly disease, as such the YMCA been a youth focus organization would closely collaborate with the various youth structures in the schools and communities to extensively crusade against the disease in their localities through support from its partner Medicine De Monde that is also committed to the process of stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS through sustained awareness raising.
The YMCA anti AIDS campaigner disclosed as a result of the many awareness raising activities in the past few years the infection rate of the HIV/AIDS virus has had a minimum drop and more was needed to be done to see further reduction in its usurp.
He mentioned global statistics put the infection rate of the disease in 2006 to 39 million people been affected but this has dropped over the last two years to 33.2 million people been affected.
This reduction he said was realized as a result of the consented efforts being applied by all partners in the fight against halting the spread of the disease through massive awareness and various preventive practices been taught to safe guide people contracting the AIDS virus.
Mr. Gonzeh disclosed said, misconception about the disease has over the years served as an obstacle in the strive to the minimize its spread and as such the disposal of proper education would further redirect people thinking and understanding of the disease.
Also speaking at the ceremony the community health reference of Medicine Du Monde in Bong County Joseph Tennie affirmed his organization commitment of working with YMCA to ensure the young people are properly educated to the prevention of AIDS virus and its devastating consequences on their lives.
He indicated as means of making the program more sustainable even following their intervention in the targeted schools and communities, a group of peer educators would be provided training selected from their respective schools and communities to continue the initiative in the absence of direct outside support.
He stressed they would also be provided visual aid and other requisite resource materials to enhance their work in their schools and communities.
The French Medical organization is also running series of health education radio programs on Y-Echo Radio a youth radio managed by the Gbarnga YMCA to dissemination programs about youth initiative and empowerment.