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Peer Educators Embark On HIV/AIDS Campaign 

By Leocadia Bongben

Some 450 peer educators have been deployed to youth frequented areas to encourage them adopt less risky behaviour and go for free HIV/AIDS screening.The campaign was launched Thursday, August 6, by the Ministers of Public Health and Youth Affairs, André Mama Fouda and Adoum Garoua respectively, at the Yaoundé Conference Centre.

The 2009 edition of the campaign dubbed ‘AIDS Free Holiday’ was launched under the theme: ‘Successful Holiday Free of AIDS’. Since 2003, about 2000 peer educators have been trained and have sensitised about a million youth, encouraging them to know their serology status.

Of the 55,458 youth sensitised last year, 25,781 were tested positive. Some 6.4 percent of girls were positive against 3 percent for boys. It was equally revealed that boys that engage on unprotected sex with older partners have a 19.37 percent of getting infected with the HIV/AIDS virus, compared to 29.8 percent for young girls who indulge in unprotected sex with older partners. The target this year, according to government officials, is to sensitise 300,000 youth. 

Stickers on the occasion were handed over to the representative of motorcycle and taxi drivers as an invitation for them to join in the campaign. Twelve mobile units will be opened to the youth for free and voluntary HIV/AIDS tests within a period of two weeks. Peer educators artists such as Jean Pierre Essome, Silvia, Ange Banya and Ama Pierrot spiced the occasion with a sketch and musical performances.

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