HIV awareness events have been held at high schools in Ndende and Fougamou, Gabon. Sponsored by the Gabon Ministry of Health, the French embassy, the Pan African Organisation against AIDS and UNAIDS, the events attracted more than 3000 students, 500 of whom found out their HIV status.
A quiz on HIV, entitled “Stoppons le wela, Gabonese slang for “Put an end to this thing”, was given out to the students. Questions such as “Can you tell if someone has HIV?” and “How do you get infected?” tested the students’ knowledge on HIV.
Michael Anicet, dancer and UNAIDS Gabon Youth Advocate, got everyone dancing before he and other youth leaders led an interactive discussion about HIV. “Know your status! And if you are HIV-positive then get yourself on treatment and protect others from getting infected,” Mr Anicet told the students.
During the events, the young people asked about where to get treatment and spoke about sexual harassment, saying that it had to stop. Others told of how they had little access to HIV testing.
Other visitors to the events included the mayors of both cities, who stressed that their cities would do everything possible to make HIV testing and treatment available.
“Each committed city should develop plans to accelerate the AIDS response and allocate a budget to be complemented by public and private partners,” the Mayor of Fougamou, Serge Mandi Mboula, said during his city’s event.
The Mayor of Ndende, Maité Mapangou, concluded her city’s event by saying loud and clear, “We stand in solidarity and are truly committed.”