Making HIV services more friendly for young people
Joyce and Kudakwashe
Two activists with ideas on how to improve HIV services for young people.
Joyce: The moment someone sees you walking into an HIV testing facility. So this is definitely a huge problem. The stigma affiliated to HIV.
Kudakwashe: Actually I have an experience before I was included in like knowing my rights and stuff. I had to go through that phase like, I had to go to access an HIV test because I knew what I had done that Christmas.
I was sort of like being interviewed, your age! How old are you? Why are you even accessing this? What are you doing? Like I have kids at home your age I, and you know so forth, sort of like demotivating me like.
Joyce: I think those are some of the key issues that say that would make young people not to seek services at, you know, HIV facilities.
I'm supposed to go to the hospital once every three months. But I don't do that. I go sometimes once a year because I'm trying to avoid questions like, so where is your boyfriend? Is he also living with HIV? You should bring him for testing. You should bring him for counselling. Oh, now your viral suppression is OK. You should get pregnant.
Kudakwashe: The questioning, the questioning has to just go off. If someone asks if young people want something, let's just say HIV testing in particular, they should be just offered that service without a lot of troubling questions, like why would you want an HIV test and stuff.
Joyce: So I would say that each young person is unique and healthcare workers need to know that this is the case and they should not try to handle young people with the same you know, same old, same old script.
Kudakwashe: Everybody should be just they should be just friendly to young people when they just step into those institutions.
Maybe, just maybe, we might have a breakthrough and young people might start liking to go to the health institutes.
What would you do to make HIV services more friendly for young people?
Joyce Ouma, Advocacy and Campaigns Officer for Y+ Global and Kudakwashe Mapuranga, Peer Educator for OPHID speak about their experiences and how they think HIV services could be improved for young people.