AIDS Free Holidays: The campaign incorporates awareness of COVID-19

Over 600 peer educators will  school 700,000 youths on STIs, HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 preventive measures during the 18th edition of  the AIDS Free Holidays campaign. 

The campaign was launched on September 9, in Yaounde by the Secretary of State at the Public Health Ministry, Alim Hayatou, representative of the Public Health Minister.

AIDS Free Holidays, is an initiative of Cameroon’s First Lady, Chantal Biya, launched in 2003, to create awareness of  STIs and HIV/AIDS among young people.

Who does the campaign target ?

AIDS Free Holidays targets youths aged 14-24. According to information  from the Public Health Ministry, youths of this age group are often victims of HIV/AIDS. Six out of ten infections are young people, but girls are nine times more at risk of contracting the virus

For two weeks, over 600 trained peer educators will be dispatched to the country’s ten regions to educate youths on HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 prevention.

University students, unemployed persons and adults will receive handbills on the HIV/AIDS, STIs and COVID-19. Educative talks and sensitization on social media platforms will also be organized in order to reach a wider audience.

COVID-19 alters campaign modalities

The 2020 edition of the campaign  is holding amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of this global health crisis, the campaign’s launching takes place two weeks late, compared to previous years.

Accordingly, special focus has been placed on preventive measures to help youths ward off COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to uphold preventive measures during the campaign, electronic means of communication will be widely used . Unlike other times when teams carried out the campaign , individual educators will now go out for sensitization this times around.

Social media platforms will be the major platform for the campaign.
Awareness messages will be spread on these platforms, community radio channels and television channels .

As the campaign officially begins, youths have been told to be responsible and strictly respect all preventive measures to avoid  catching COVID-19, HIV/AIDS or contracting STIs.

Kathy Neba Sina

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