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AIDS-Free Holidays Adopts Facebook To Reach More People 

By Cynthia Akenji — This year’s AIDS-free holiday campaign will adopt the use of facebook to reach more people, according to the Coordinator of the Southwest Technical Group for the Fight against HIV/AIDS, Dr. Pascal Nji Atanga. The 10th edition of the AIDS-free holiday campaign was launched in the Southwest under the theme “Youths, the Fight against HIV/AIDS Continues”.

It will fully start on July 30, after Peer Educators have been selected and trained. “The programme this year is going to be different in the sensitisation methods used as peer educators will be given first-hand education about the various modes of transmission and prevention of the epidemic. Peer educators going out for sensitisation will be expected to have at least Advanced Level certificate,” Dr. Atanga said.

He explained that during this year’s programme, each peer educator will have a facebook page and will be expected to connect to at least 30 friends who will be updated as the programme unfolds and will help sensitise others in their various localities, thus creating vast network of peer educators. Atanga said the youth who are the target population will not only be educated on how to prevent HIV/AIDS, but also on how to prevent unwanted pregnancies and other sexually transmittable disease, as they are considered the most vulnerable population.

The campaign, which is sponsored by the National AIDS Control Committee, NACC, with patronage from the First Lady, Mrs. Chantal Biya, has witnessed major successes over the past years as the percentage of HIV/AIDS infected persons has reduced in most regions of the country. In addition, Atanga said the level of awareness among the youths has increased, thus reducing their vulnerability.

Some youths The Post talked to said they appreciate the campaign, as it has increased awareness among the population and enabled many youth to know their HIV status through free screening. Ernestine Ndifor, a youth based in Buea, said: “I really appreciate this gesture because it has really increased my level of awareness through the sensitisation messages gotten from the peer educators and I look forward to be part of the programme this season”

*(UB Journalism Student On Internship)

First published in The Post print edition No 01448

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