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Reprod Health Matters. 2006 Nov;14(28):68-79.

Preventing HIV with young people: a case study from Zambia.

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  • 1International HIV/AIDS Alliance, Brighton, UK.


The US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is funding thousands of community-based organisations, international NGOs and government services in high HIV prevalence countries to persuade young people to abstain from sex until marriage (Abstinence, Behaviour Change, Youth--ABY). This paper describes how this strategy is being implemented in Zambia, and community responses to it. It is derived from published information and observations and discussions in the Eastern Province in 2005-2006. A few NGOs have challenged the strategy, but many took the funds and are paying large numbers of peer educators to promote abstinence only. Messages are rife that condoms have holes or don't work sufficiently well to make them worth using. Condom promotion materials have been replaced. Service providers refuse to give condoms to young people. Young people who had attended sexuality and life skills programmes that gave them accurate information are rejecting inaccurate messages and demanding condoms. Without this education, however, inaccurate messages will spread quickly. It is not possible to promote condoms only for high risk people without stigmatising both the people and condoms, and it also jeopardises promoting condom use for contraception. Everything possible must be done to reduce negative messages about condoms. Everyone involved in HIV/AIDS needs to reflect on their own work in relation to this new climate and ensure that all prevention options are widely available, correct information is given and condoms are available for everyone who needs them.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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