In Cameroon, a country where only 6% of the state budget is allocated to health, it is no doubt that the prevalence of HIV still remains high with a prevalence rate of 4.5% as of 2012. Unfortunately, young people aged 15-24 years are more at risk with over 500,000 new infections per year.
Since 2011, we have been working with community leaders, school administrators, the local council, various local AIDS control committees (LACCs) and the community radio to drive conversations from the grassroots on HIV/AIDS. We are committed to building a community of responsible youths, who take charge of their sexual life. Through youth friendly programs such as, movie projections, drama, interactive learning sessions in schools, sensitization campaigns amongst others we are changing societal perceptions about sex and sexuality and challenging local myths surrounding HIV/AIDS. We are putting young people at the center of decision making and advocating for laws that encourage a pro-active youth community.
With funding from the MTV Staying Alive Foundation, we have been able to train 50 peer educators across 3 secondary schools in the Manyu Division as well as 5 LACCs. The number of new infections occurring each year has dropped by 5% following our program. In collaboration with the local council, public sessions of free voluntary counseling and testing (VCTS) are organized each year to commemorate celebrations of the World AIDS day.