Category Archives: SRHR

ICASA Youth Pre-Conference

The youth pre- Conference in Zimbabwe. Photo- ICASA Youth Front Facebook
The youth Pre-Conference in Zimbabwe. Photo- ICASA Youth Front Facebook

The International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA) is a major international AIDS conference which takes place in Africa. Its current biennial hosting alternates between Anglophone and Francophone African countries. The 2015 ICASA was held in Harare, Zimbabwe.

I did not get the opportunity to be part of the conference this year. However, due to my commitment to disseminating news surrounding HIV/AIDS and SRHR issues affecting young people, here is are the outcomes of the youth Pre-Conference.

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We young people at the ICASA YouthFront organized Pre-Conference for the 18th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa, held on the 27th and 28th of November 2015 at the Zimbali Conference Centre, in Harare, Zimbabwe, under the theme ‘Agenda 2030: Delivering for Youth in the Post 2015 Era’.

Having noted the tremendous progress in the HIV response in Africa, curtailed with notable challenges in access to comprehensive HIV and SRHR services and effects of HIV on our continent, where AIDS is now the number one cause of adolescent deaths, and disproportionately affecting our young girls and women, as the future generation and young people of Africa therefore, we commit to,

  1. Advocate for the review of punitive and conflicting laws, policies and legal frameworks that impede access to HIV and SRHR services for all – leaving no one behind – including age of consent in our respective countries,
  2. Influence governments to invest in research and development targeted at   new prevention technologies that work for adolescents and young people including Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).
  3. An Africa youth task-force for prevention research and development.
  4. Influence governments to increase financing for health including increasing domestic financing for the HIV response and reproductive health commodities.
  5. Strengthen and support structures for young people living with HIV to own the HIV response.
  6. Be part of HIV and SRHR policy making processes, implementation and evaluation ensuring meaningful youth participation and accountability including in institutional processes such as the Global Fund.
  7. Lead country level actions to advocate for the delivery of Comprehensive Sexuality Education.
  8. Invest our efforts to participate in the implementation and monitoring of the SDGs framework, including the commitment to End of AIDS by 2030.
  9. Increase our engagement with existing funding and program opportunities like the Global Fund, All in!, DREAMS, Every woman Every Child.
  10. To support fellow young people to dispel myths and disinformation which drive stigma and fuel discrimination. Further ensuring that the human rights and dignity of every adolescent and young person are protected, promoted and fulfilled, without distinction of any kind.
  11. Commit to increased engagement and advocacy with our governments, regional economic communities, the African Union, United Nations agencies and other civil society groups to accelerate efforts towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly targets related to sexual and reproductive health and rights, ending AIDS, investing in education. Raising awareness among policy makers and other stakeholders on the importance of the demographic dividend towards the sustainable development of Africa.

Presented on 28th November 2015 at the closing plenary of the ICASA Youth Pre-Conference.

Document source.

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Dancing 4 Demand on Global female condom day 2015

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Wednesday, September 16, was the Global Female Condom Day (GFCD) 2015, and the world’s leading manufacturer of the product announced it has sold more than 500 million female condoms in over 144 countries since launching its product in 1995.

In Kenya, female condoms are rare and expensive. They are available in select donor funded clinics and not many women are aware of their existence. They are mostly associated with commercial sex workers, yet, they provide a great substitute of the male condom. Awareness on the use of female condoms could increase women’s options of contraception methods.

The day was commemorated in Kisumu by PATH, an international health organization that transforms global health through innovation, in conjunction with Keeping Alive Societies Hope (KASH), a local based NGO addressing the health and rights challenges faced by marginalized populations in the Kenya. The day was marked by dancing for demand of female condoms, discussions on the challenges of distribution and condom demonstrations.

The Commercial Sex Workers at the celebrations raised among other issues, the high cost of female condoms compared to the male ones. A female condom retails at 300 Kenya shillings. They also asked questions why female condoms are not packaged in 3’s like their male counterparts. Here is a clip on how it went down.

GFCDhttps://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0Jr-t2IkYDveUM3ZEphRzkzbm8/preview

Dance4Demand, a collaborative initiative by Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights organizations, holds dances globally on GFCD, while advocating for the availability of female condoms. Anyone can organize a dance in their community with resources to facilitate the advocacy efforts provided on their website.

According to Guttmatcher Institute, widespread promotion of the female condom will help to destigmatize the method and normalize it as a potential method for all sexually active women and men, not just those who engage in high-risk behaviors or are living with HIV or AIDS.

The female condom was designed to give women greater control over their own protection, without having to rely on their partners to use a condom. However, many studies confirm that partner cooperation is necessary for women to use the female condom successfully.

Female condoms are inserted in the vagina before sex. An inner ring on the condoms aids in insertion, while a larger, softer ring remains outside the vagina and keeps the condom in place. Like traditional condoms used by men, the FC2 helps prevent pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Improvements on design keep evolving as manufacturers respond to the consumer feedback.

Conversations on abortions trend on twitter

Credit: www.returnofkings.com
Credit: http://www.returnofkings.com

Abortion is a topic that raises controversy and many would rather steer clear of. The fact is that whether you are pro life or pro choice, women are still going to have abortions.

Some of these abortions are unsafe and lead to loss of life. According to African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), each year, an estimated 47,000 women across the globe die from unsafe abortions. Countless others suffer serious and life-threatening injuries. Approximately 13 per cent of maternal deaths globally are attributed to unsafe abortion. Ninety-five per cent of deaths and other complications related to unsafe abortions occur in developing countries.

The conversations were sparked by two women on social media.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsToday, the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion trended on twitter for the better part of the day. Below are some of the conversations.

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//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsThere were those who were against the hashtag, as seen on the following tweets.

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This is still going to be a topic of contention.

Sometimes, in order to follow our moral compass and/or our hearts, we have to make unpopular decisions or stand up for what we believe in.
Tabatha Coffey