Determined, Resilient Empowered Aids-free Mentored Safe (DREAMS) Movement recently embarked on a roadshow across the Serowe Sub district to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS, including clinical services, strengthen partnerships with stakeholders and the general community to collectively protect, nurture and mold adolescents and young people in the communities.
Responding to questions in Serowe on Thursday, Serowe Sub District Dreams Ambassodor Tuduetso Ditlale indicated that they are pleased with outcome of the road show because of the positive numbers that attended the event in different location they visited. “At Serowe taxi rank, half of people expected came and participated with us asking questions and getting answers. At Thabala village people came in large numbers regardless of the rain, they stood there just to honor the Roadshow, the community response showed that they became enthusiastic about the Road show,” she said.
She also stated that, what DREAMS Movement seeks to achieve is, an AIDS- free future for adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) aged 9- 24 years, and therefore during the roadshow they engaged in training them (AGYW) on, HIV and violence prevention, safe spaces and social asset building, economic strengthening and financial literacy, risk based HTS, post-violence care and psychosocial support, Pre- Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) contraceptive method mix, referral for educational support, substance abuse services, National registration, Post-exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) and adolescent sexual and reproductive health.
Furthermore, Ditlale mentioned that even though there is foot-dragging in joining the movement, she however indicated that there has been positive impact to those who are part of the movement as they have testified that it has changed as their lives for the better.
“I implored everyone especially adolescents and young women even the community to become part of the movement as it has a potential to have a positive impact in their lives,” she said.
Moreover, she explained, the road show has helped in increasing their visibility in the sub district.
Further, she said their aim is to continue promoting the DREAMS program with their Implementing partners, ensuring that the AGYW youth friendly services are available for them to live a healthy lifestyle and to collaborate more with other stakeholders that empower and shape girl child nurture.
In an interview, Serowe District Health Management Team (DHMT) Youth Clinic representative Ame Kabo indicated that the sub district is registering more number of new HIV infections and other sexual transmitted diseases and high number of pregnancies among teenagers.
She pointed that the number is an indication that a lot of young women are sexually active, therefore she encouraged them to visit their clinic in order to utilize their services. “At the youth clinic we consult, we give contraceptives, we test for HIV, we screen for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and provide treatment, and many other health related issues,” she said.
She further encouraged them to enroll for their PrEP as it can prove to be a life saver in the event that they are engaged in unprotected sex. “If you don’t Know the status of your partner, enroll for PrEP, that way you will be save from contracting the virus if the partner is HIV positive…we have other services like the emergency contraceptive pill which can be used within 72 hours to prevent pregnancy during unprotected sex or in case of a mistake happen during protected sex,” she added.
Further, kabo said, even though the young people are reluctant to go for health services especially those involving testing for sexual transmitted diseases and pregnancies, she however explained that the youth clinic’s environment is youth friendly. She said the service providers are of the same age or closer to their age, and are also trained to handle young people, and the clinic has games that they can play to entertain themselves.
“The youth clinic is located at a save distance where you will unlikely run into your parents, or a nosey neighbor when you are on the line to access our services, unlike at public clinics where there are different lines for different services, at the youth clinic there is only one queue that is used for all the services,” assured Kabo.
She further encraged Serowe Sub district youth to utilize the services at the clinic as they are meant for them.