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TEEN CLUBS HELPING FIGHT HIV/AIDS, STIGMA IN RUMPHI

The use of teen clubs is proving a success in Rumphi district as youths living with HIV, a virus that causes AIDS are now opening up on positive living.

A snap survey of the three Teen clubs in T/As Chikulamayembe, Mwahenga and Mwankhunikira in the district showed that teens are slowly opening up on issues to do with HIV and AIDS.

The teen clubs pull together an average group of 60 youths living positively. These youths meets once every month and they are attached to rural hospitals.

During their meetings, the youths discussing various issues among them adherence to antiretroviral drugs, fighting stigma and discrimination and fighting emotional pressure that comes with living with HIV.

Life Concern Organization is supports these teen clubs meetings by among others providing financial support so that they are able to buy nutritious foods and refreshments as they meet.

Furthermore, the organization has attached mentors to the three Teen Clubs who provide psycho social support to the youths.

“During the Teen Club meetings, these youths who are living positively are able to open up and discuss issues pertaining to their health.”

“It is not easy being a youth and living with HIV and AIDS. You need a shoulder to lean on. You need to talk to somebody who would understand you and your situation, said one teen club member who sought for anonymity.

The teen club therefore provides an ideal platform where ideas are shared on positive living without fear of being stigmatized or discriminated against.

HIV and AIDS infection rate remains high in Malawi and it is estimated that 1, 100, 000 people are currently living with HIV, a virus that causes AIDS.

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