“We see young people getting their hope for the future back”

“We see young people getting their hope for the future back”

Under its Together We Stay On project, ADPP in Mozambique applies a successful approach to empower young people to retain on HIV treatment: trios and youth clubs. Moisés Pereira Faera works as project lead at ADPP and shares with us why this model is so successful and the positive changes she sees that the project has brought for young people living with HIV.

Also read our news item Stay On sustaining successes for the next decades

What are trios and youth clubs and why are they so successful?

The success behind this model of trios and youth clubs lies in the strong support system the groups offer to people living with HIV; where the trio group is composed of a person living with HIV along with two people in their environment who they feel comfortable with and who are selected by themselves and the two people provide mental and physical support to reveal their condition, overcome the (self) stigma and eventually give the person enough willpower to start and stay on HIV treatment. The youth club is mixed and is composed of a minimum of 6 people and a maximum of 15 aged between 15 - 24 years old, where they unite in this small club developing recreational activities and participating in debate sessions focusing on sexual and reproductive health, union premature birth, family planning and about other diseases that are sexually transmitted, with the same purpose of providing mental and physical support and overcoming the (self) stigma to their neighbor and in their social life sufficiently strengthened to start and stay in HIV treatment.

Conducting a community event in the Nhunsy neighborhood in the circle of the Inhazonia health unit
Conducting a community event in the Nhunsy neighborhood in the circle of the Inhazonia health unit
Conducting a community event in the Nhunsy neighborhood in the circle of the Inhazonia health unit
Conducting a community event in the Nhunsy neighborhood in the circle of the Inhazonia health unit

How many young people are reached with this project?

Among the number of people with HIV reintegrated into the project in the 2-year period, it is estimated that in the 15-25 age group, there are a total of 371 men and 788 women, for a total of 1159 young people.

What do you think is the biggest barrier for young people to get HIV treatment?

Although data and our own experience in working with the communities have taught us that there is a large group of young people living with HIV, it was hard to mobilize young people for testing. We have spoken to many young people and for them the biggest barrier to get tested is the fear for a test result showing they are infected with HIV, and afterwards facing stigma and discrimination from their community. In many cases young people do simply not know how to cope with being infected in case the testing result is positive, and therefore prefer not to know their HIV status. Another barrier is that young people believe in the myth that they will turn HIV positive from doing an HIV test.

What are positive changes where Together We Stay On is implemented?

The positive impact that the project has brought to the communities especially for youth has been notorious. In the beginning of the creation of youth clubs, the project faced difficulties in interacting with young people about topics related to their sexual and reproductive health due to fear and shame. This was especially for the girls, who did not feel comfortable to talk about their sexual and reproductive health.

But with the insistence and dedication of the project team, we have witnessed young people in youth clubs doing awareness campaigns in the communities about HIV and other opportunistic diseases, where they share information openly about family planning and HIV prevention methods. We have recently even have seen youth coming to a health facility voluntarily, to know their HIV status and also experienced young people volunteering to be part of a group. These are both things that did not happen before and are an important change in and for the community. It shows the project creates impact since young people understand now the importance of testing for HIV and being aware of their status.

Mobile brigade providing HIV counselling and testing for students at secondary School Armando Emilio Guebuza in Barue District
Mobile brigade providing HIV counselling and testing for students at secondary School Armando Emilio Guebuza in Barue District
Mobile brigade providing HIV counselling and testing for students at secondary School Armando Emilio Guebuza in Barue District
Mobile brigade providing HIV counselling and testing for students at secondary School Armando Emilio Guebuza in Barue District

What is your call to action to your national authorities with regard to young people’s health?

Our call to action to Mozambican government is to give priority to psychosocial support and positive prevention strategies for young people. They can be done by using the following approaches:

  • Strengthening technical capacity of community health workers and health care workers to provide youth friendly health services;
  • Creating an enabling environment at youth friendly health services with the involvement of young people themselves;
  • Promoting involvement of (young) people with HIV in communities and schools;
  • Advocate for more investments in- and more support to youth support groups.

What practical advice can you give to increase retention rate among young people?

For us it has turned out helpful to support young people living with HIV by using support groups. The positive experience with youth clubs and trio’s must be promoted. Secondly, it is of great importance to have skilled community health workers who understand the reality of young people; e.g. the fear of stigma and discrimination young people face. If they understand young people and their fears, they have the power to retain young people in care.

Sensitization of the girl to adhere to the treatment and to take part in the activities of the youth club
Sensitization of the girl to adhere to the treatment and to take part in the activities of the youth club
Sensitization of the girl to adhere to the treatment and to take part in the activities of the youth club
Sensitization of the girl to adhere to the treatment and to take part in the activities of the youth club

What keeps you motivated to reach more young people?

We see young people getting their hope for the future back after joining the youth groups, and become more and more empowered. They take leadership of support groups, gain self-esteem and feel purposeful. Through their positive attitude they inspire other young people. This motivates me each day to continue.

About ADPP

ADPP is a Mozambican Non-Governmental Association that works across Quality Education, Health and Well-being, Sustainable Agriculture, and the Environment. Its “ADPP Stay On Manica” project focuses on young women and men (age 15-25) and adult women and men (age 25-59) including female sex workers, and is implemented in Barué District, Manica Province. Mozambique is one of the developing countries with a high HIV infection rate with an average of 13.2% and in Manica province it is 13.5%. Of the total population of around 25,000 people living with HIV, only 7,705 are on treatment and 17,455 people are living with HIV but do not yet know their HIV status.

The project is funded under the Aidsfonds Stay On project, which started in May 2020 with the objective to implement a model for people living with HIV to become empowered to retain on lifelong HIV treatment.

 

Moises Pereira Faera, Lead on the ADPP Stay On Manica Project
Moises Pereira Faera, Lead on the ADPP Stay On Manica Project
Moises Pereira Faera, Lead on the ADPP Stay On Manica Project
Moises Pereira Faera, Lead on the ADPP Stay On Manica Project

Aidsfonds.org uses cookies to offer the best website experience possible and to anonymously analyze website behaviour. More information.