The Ministry of Health and Social Services decided around World AIDS Day to launch the U=U campaign (Undetectable = Untransmittable). This is an important milestone in the fight against HIV/AIDS. People who are on treatement and Undetectable cannot transmit the virus to others.
The Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO) dance troupe was tasked with community mobilisation. It created a new song U=U and short piece. It prepared a repertoire on HIV/AIDS to be performed in various communities. It worked alongside the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) and the Youth Empowerment Group (YEG).
‘During the day, we gather people’ explained Philippe Talavera, OYO’s director. ‘People hear music and see the dancers. They come and watch. We entertain the audience, but also educate them. Most don’t know about PrEP, U=U, etc. So we give them the information in a format that is simple and interactive. Meanwhile, the WBCG offers much needed services such as HIV testing and counselling, PrEP, pregnancy screenings. The YEG on the other hand tries and motivate young people to go for the test. We held 16 events in three regions of Namibia (Khomas, Erongo and Zambesi). 12,418 people were reached and learnt from the performances and screening with 1,629 voluntarily accessing HIV services.’
‘The project was a great success’ added Talavera. ‘Too often donors are focused on finding the new positive. We forget the power of being negative. Many of the young people who added services had never been tested before. You could see some were very apprehensive. If you then test negative, you learnt a lesson: you remember how apprehensive you were, probably because you had not used protection. So for the next weeks/ months you are more likely to be careful and use protection.’
The U=U campaign was funded by UNICEF and UNAIDS.
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