Chilanga adolescents demand ‘freedom’ to access health information

Adolescents in Chilanga district have called on the government to consider creating a conducive environment where young people can gain access to information in health centres without feeling intimidated.

Chairperson of the Adolescent group at Chilanga Clinic, Moriah Chileya, said more sensitisation needs to be done to encourage adolescents to seek more information on things they do not understand such the use of Prep in HIV prevention and also on the other issues pertaining to sexual reproductive health.

Ms. Chileya was speaking during a District HIV/AIDS Committee (DHAC) meeting in preparation for the forthcoming World AIDS day and 16 days of Activism against gender-based violence. 

And Chilanga District Health Director, Leah Namonje, said adolescents and youths are excited with life, a situation which leads some to having multiple sexual partners or having sexual parties.

Dr. Namonje said multiple sexual partners and sex parties lead to new HIV infection cases.

She said it is important for the District HIV/AIDS Committee to restart sensitisations on various health issues across the district.

She said the committee should cover issues such as HIV, cervical cancer screening, and male circumcision among others as many people in the community express ignorance on such topics.

“Owing to the Covid-19 outbreak the past few years, some diseases were pushed aside by members of the public thinking they had come to an end such as HIV, cervical cancer and programmes such as male circumcision need to be revamped,” she explained.

Meanwhile, District Health Promotions Officer, Godfrey Zulu, observed that stigma against persons living with HIV is as a result of lack of information or receiving wrong information. 

Mr Zulu said many people of different ages in the district have little or no knowledge about Prep.

He said this was discovered during another campaign programme the health department was conducting in the district. 

He added that more sensitisation needs to be done in the district to address the gaps being faced in the fight against HIV especially that antiretroviral therapy services are readily available in health facilities.