National Youth Council of Malawi (Nycom) says Malawi may face serious challenges to achieve the 90:90:90 targets for fighting HIV and Aids if government and civil society organisations (CSOs) do not include young people in their programmes.
Nycom executive director Aubrey Chibwana expressed the sentiments in an interview on Saturday, a day after he closed a two-day Communication and Advocacy Strategy Validation Workshop in Lilongwe.
The workshop, which sought to analyse youth-led communication and advocacy strategy workplan and content, was organised by the Youth Act Alliance (YAA) with funding from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Chibwana said young people remain the most vulnerable group; hence, disregarding to integrate them in the fight against HIV and Aids will have little or no impact at all.
He said: “The youth need to be at the centre of all HIV interventions because they are the most vulnerable group. Youths need to be active players in the fight against HIV and Aids lest we labour in vain.”
National Aids Commission (NAC) youth commissioner Chimwemwe Kaonga, in an e-mailed response on Monday, said the workshop discussed a number of issues, including the need to harmonise HIV and Aids messages targeting the youth.
He noted that currently, there is a lot of literature that gives conflicting information about the virus.
Said Kaonga: “And this confuses the youth on which literature carries the right information. We, therefore, requested stakeholders to come up with a harmonised literature on HIV and Aids, which young people can easily access.”
The 90:90:90 campaign targets fighting HIV and Aids as being espoused by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and Aids (UNAids) and seeks countries’ commitment to end HIV and Aids by 2030; have 90 percent of people living with HIV and Aids (PLHIV) know their status by 2020, 90 percent of people diagnosed of HIV to be on ART by 2020 and 90 percent of patients on ART to be retained in care and have their viral load suppressed by 2020.