In an effort to reduce the prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS among the youths of the North West Region, especially young girls who are more vulnerable to the infection, NW Governor Adophe Lele L’Afrique, has called on parents to send their kids back to school. He made the call while launching of the NW HIV/AIDS Free holiday program at the Bamenda Regional Hospital, on Wednesday 22 August.
North West Coordinator of the HIV/AIDS program, Madam Gladys Tayong says, Only 32% of teenage girls and young women (15–24 years) have comprehensive knowledge of HIV and AIDS compared to 41% of adolescent boys and young men.
According to a recent study by the Cameroon Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (CAMPHIA) indicates that, young girls in the aged group 15-24 years are infected with HIV/AIDS, nine times more boys.
For biological reasons, women have always been more susceptible for contracting the HIV virus than men. Other biological factors include: the higher viral concentration in semen compared to vaginal fluids, larger exposed surface and longer viral contact among women. Apart from biological reasons, the low rate of economic empowerment amongst women and girls is an unavoidable factor which has deprived most young girls to ask for safer sex from men.
The HIV epidemic is driven by new infections. Incidence data indicate how many new infections have occurred. Data on incidence are derived from the number of new infections during a period of time (usually a year), divided by the number of persons who are HIV negative at the beginning of the time period. In Cameroon, there are six new infections per hour, approximately 141 per day, 4,276 every month, and 51,315 per year.
It is for these reasons that 50 peer educators have been trained to sensitized 500.000 north westerns on how to prevent HIV infection. The program which ends on the 31st of August, runs under the theme “Android Generation, click on HIV testing”.