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.
Our work in Zambia
We’ve been working in partnership with BISO since 2015, supporting their work in Mkushi, a rural, underserved district of Zambia where young people lack opportunities and many of the drivers of HIV remain unchallenged.
BISO works with community peer educators who are based at the rural health centres and within the local schools to reach young people, helping them 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, such as intergenerational sex and transactional sex.
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
- age appropriate life skills training on SRH in schools
- dialogue meetings for community leaders on damaging cultural and social beliefs and practices
- train peer community health workers
Martha is 19 years and has been actively participating in youth activities and the safe space project for the past year.
“It has helped me to become a responsible young lady who is now able to make informed decisions and be able to negotiate when it comes to the issues of sex. I think that safe spaces have created a very good platform for adolescents and young people to interact, share information and learn from each other’s experience.
At the level I am now, I don’t think any man can cheat me regarding issues of sex. I have become a much stronger person since I started interacting with the project."
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.