We carried out a survey in Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo to analyse certain factors concerning AIDS among young people. Our findings included the following information:
- Poverty and a lack of work encourage adolescents to become sex workers in order to make enough money to eat.
- Migrations of people, especially from Uganda and Sudan, have increased HIV infection.
- The goldrush and the resulting bars and hotels built around the gold quarries encourage HIV infection.
- The rate of HIV infection among young people aged between 17 and 20 years is a horrifying 60%. Only 3% of adolescents use condoms.
- Many men prefer to go out with young girls thinking they are more likely to be HIV-free.
- Taboos about sex mean that our societies refuse to talk about it, either within families or in groups or meetings.
- Many people still wrongly believe that AIDS is a result of demon possession.
From the survey we realise that, though many people know how AIDS is transmitted, they are sceptical about their own risk of infection – which prevents them changing their behaviour. How can we help change this?
Kabangu-wa-Katanga Gilbert, Bunia (RDC), PO Box 160, Nebbi, Uganda.
TALC stock a number of excellent resources in communicating the facts about HIV/AIDS, including the Strategies for Hope series and Stepping Stones. Their address is: PO Box 49, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL1 5TX, UK.