Zambia’s HIV prevalence rate remains one of the highest in the world at 11.5% of the population, with an estimated 1.1 million people living with HIV. Young women and girls are particularly at risk in Zambia where the epidemic is mainly driven by unprotected heterosexual sex.
Avert’s work in Zambia
Avert started a partnership with BISO in 2015 and now supports its work in Mkushi, a rural, underserved district of Zambia where young people lack opportunities and many of the drivers of HIV remain unchallenged.
With Avert’s support BISO works with rural health centres to reach young people, helping them to get the life skills and HIV awareness they need to live healthily. The project also engages community leaders to challenge social and cultural beliefs that drive HIV and other health problems.
The involvement of BISO volunteers linking and referring clients to health centres has made the community record a higher level of health. More people are speaking and getting to know about their health now.
- Village Headman, Mkushi
Services and activities include:
- youth friendly sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, particularly for young girls
- safe spaces for young people to discuss sexual health
- HIV testing for young people
- life skills training on SRH
- dialogue meetings for community leaders on damaging cultural and social beliefs and practices
- train peer community health workers
Belinda’s storyBelinda is 30 years old and was very ill and bedridden when BISO volunteers first met her. With support from the project, Belinda tested positive for HIV which meant she could immediately start taking the lifesaving treatment she needed.
Belinda has recovered and is now well enough to work on her farm and take care of her young family.
“Thank you. Without your help I think I would have died.”
Photo credits: ©Kerstin Hacker (top) and Target TB (right). Images used on this site are for illustrative purposes only. They do not imply any health status or behaviour on the part of the people in the photo.