PEPFAR-supported program reduces stigma about HIV
PEPFAR funded a successful HIV youth prevention program in northern Namibia. Through the one-year program, Caprivi Hope for Life (CHFL) reached out to youth in and out of school, and the general public to reduce stigma and create positive behaviours to prevent HIV. CHFL empowered youth to gain the required knowledge and courage to join the HIV prevention efforts, to get tested for HIV, access medical treatment if necessary, and fight stigma and discrimination. The organization conducted outreach sessions; carried out drama, dance and music performances; and organized buddy one-on-one sessions, monthly discussion groups and quarterly debates and video viewings.
One female participant said that before joining the buddy support system, she was afraid to talk about her HIV status and did not tell her partner about having protected sex or negotiate condom use. After attending three buddy one-on-one sessions she said, “I become strong and encouraged to talk about HIV & AIDS issues without fear. I disclosed my status to my partner and family and now living a positive life.” She further said she can talk about her HIV status without fear because her experience helps others. She further urged CHFL to extend the buddy support system program to all rural areas as she recognizes the need for the program mostly in rural areas due to lack or limited support programs.