Tech to advance HIV prevention in Lesotho

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By Lerema Pheea

In an effort to facilitate ease of access to information on HIV/AIDS for youth in Lesotho, a technology-based HIV prevention program has been launched and will be distributed through use of social media platforms.

The program was launched by the National AIDS Commission (NAC) in collaboration with the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology last week Wednesday.

NAC Chief Executive Officer Mamello Letsie said the primary objective of the technology-based HIV prevention program is to accelerate the reduction of new infections among at-risk populations by giving priority to populations with higher vulnerability, mostly the youth.

She said HIV intervention remains one of the global priority areas with the overall goal of decreasing the number of HIV infected and affected individuals and families.

“In the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, Lesotho, Botswana, and eSwatini have all set targets to reduce new infections among young people by 2023, through the formulation of relevant strategies”, Letsie said.

Limkokwing’s newly appointed Vice-Chancellor Advocate Tefo Macheli pointed that it is prudent to offer educational truths on HIV to young people as that is the best way to control the emergence of new infections.

He also said that the youth are the best group to prioritize for education on the prevention of HIV because they are the future generation.

“If there is no youth, there is no country as well; hence we must be very careful on the things that our youths are exposed to.

“If our youth do not get the right information, that will affect the development of our country all the way into the future,” said Macheli.

On the same occasion, Limkokwing Director’s representative Ntlaloe Ntlaloe said the University readily wants to be used in order to provide technology that will be required in the fight on HIV prevention.

He called on other stakeholders to provide the right information and all else that is needed to be communicated in order for the right messages to be communicated to the target group of people aged 15 to 24 in the Southern African region.

“With this program, we are looking to reach the youth through social media which is where they spend most of their time.

“Through this platform, we are ready to provide them with the right messages on HIV/AIDS while they are playing games or using their mobile phones,” said Ntlaloe.

He said the aim is to transform youths’ ways of thinking and make them see things differently.

Health Minister Semano Sekatle explained that this regional HIV prevention program is launched at an opportune time when Lesotho is counted among countries that have high rates of HIV infections.

He said the fact that Lesotho is now faced with the Covid-19 pandemic has shifted all focus from HIV/AIDS, but the launch of the program brings back attention to other diseases the country is also challenged with.