One third (4 million) of the Zambia population is aged 15-24 years; every hour, 3 of these young people will become infected with HIV. Less than 40% of young people in Zambia have comprehensive HIV knowledge, with lower levels among females. Similar trend is noted for the use of HIV prevention services (condoms, male circumcision) with the exception of HIV testing among girls and delay of sexual debut. Young people's HIV risk is increased when they have limited knowledge about the means to protect themselves and they are not supported to access and utilize them.
U-Report, in partnership with National AIDS Council UNICEF and CHAMP was first launched in Kitwe during the commemoration of the 2012 world AIDS day, and later on launched in Lusaka in early 2013. It is an innovative, free and strictly confidential SMS platform that is equipped to reach young people in a friendly and targeted manner. It allows real-time, two-way communication with trained SMS-counselors on issues of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STI) and it is accessible from any mobile network in Zambia.
Our objectives are:
With over 9,000 registered users, this platform has proven to be an effective strategy for continuous, low cost and individualized HIV/STI education as well as broader health promotion, resulting in increased levels of knowledge and adoption of safer sexual - behaviors such as reduction in multiple concurrent sexual partners, increased up-take of condom use and up-take of HIV/STI tests etc.
"If youths are equipped with life skills they will be able to resist peer pressure, negotiate safer sex, reduce the number of sexual partners, demand for an HIV test and access other high impact HIV preventions services such male circumcision ,condoms and anti retroviral; drugs which all key the factors which contribute to HIV," - Dr. Iyorlumun J. Uhaa, UNICEF Representative