By Joyce Mukucha
HARARE – The Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Harare Metropolitan Province, Oliver Chidawu said there was a gap which need to be filled in as much as imparting knowledge and spreading information about HIV and AIDS issues to young men is concerned.
He communicated this yesterday while officiating the handover ceremony of bicycles by the National AIDS Council (NAC) to Harare Metropolitan Province to its Brotha 2 Brotha mentors.
NAC donated 100 bicycles to Brotha 2 Brotha mentors with the aim of easing the mobility within their areas of operation when empowering young boys in sexual and reproductive health(SRH) issues as Zimbabwe moves towards ending AIDS by 2030.
Minister Chidawu said currently, Zimbabwe as a country has adopted the United Nations’ mantra ‘leaving no one behind’ and yet the boys seemed to have been overlooked.
He said lack of adequate education and awareness of HIV and AIDS issues among the male youth and adolescent boys contribute to mounting of new HIV infections.
Most interventions, he said, in the current response were targeting young adolescent girls and young women for example Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free Mentored and Safe(DREAMS) and Sista 2 Sista.
“Young people are lagging behind as compared to other population groups in terms of HIV knowledge including young men. 610 000 new HIV infections were recorded among youths (15 – 24 years) and 41 percent of these young men, according to the Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey (ZDHS 2016). HIV infection among women predominantly comes from young men according to ZIMPHIA 2016.
“The boys seemed to have been overlooked hence the adoption of the Brotha 2 Brotha prevention model which is being implimented alongside the Sista 2 Sista prevention model in the HIV and AIDS response,” he said.
He said there was need for concerted efforts to ensure that adolescent boys are taught about HIV/AIDS issues and prevention measures so that they become responsible and positively contribute to building healthy communities.
He also urged the Brotha 2 Brotha mentors to use the bicycles to spread Covid-19 information in various communities.
Brotha to Brotha clubs offer safe, youth friendly comprehensive HIV, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) information through a sport centered intervention.
The goal is to groom adolescents boys into responsible men and reduce HIV incidence and Gender Based Violence (GBV) as well as foster leadership and create capable young men who are gender sensitive and contribute towards building a better Zimbabwe.
By Joyce Mukucha