In Lesotho, 23.6% of people aged 15-49 are living with HIV, making it the country with the second highest HIV prevalence in the world. Young people are especially at risk and often lack the knowledge to know how to protect themselves.
Our work in Lesotho
We’ve been working in partnership with Phelisanang Bophelong (PB) since April 2015 to encourage young people in Leribe district to access HIV services and engage in sexual health.
With our support PB is improving young people’s access to youth-friendly HIV services, motivating young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people to engage in sexual health and working with prison inmates to ensure they have access to HIV prevention and care services.
So far, PB have trained over 50 peer community based volunteers who are now based at a number of the health centres across the district and able to support with HIV testing and youth sexual health awareness sessions.
PB has also started to run father-son and mother-daughter camps which provide a safe space for young people to engage their parents and guardians in sexual health which is usual considered a taboo.
As young people, we make mistakes because of lack of support, particularly from our parents. I wish all young people could join the youth group because it is very important. The information we get helps us make informed decisions.
- Tsietsi, PB youth group member
- youth group meetings
- health talks and school visits by youth community volunteers
- HIV testing and treatment referral
- LGBT and prisoner youth groups
- father-son/mother-daughter camps (intergenerational exchange)
“Had it not been for the intervention of the community based volunteer, I would’ve been dead or lying on a hospital bed, critical with no certainties of whether I would make it or not”.
When Mohloki, 17 found out she was pregnant her boyfriend abandoned her and she feared she would not cope. She worried about the shame she had brought to her family and the effect the pregnancy would have on her schooling. She considered taking her own life.
The local community based volunteer (CBV) learned of Mohloki through the peer network and reached out to support her. After a number of attempts Mohloki let the CBV in who soon built up a supportive relationship and helped her through her pregnancy. Mohloki is now determined to return to school with aspirations of going to university.
Photo credits: ©Laura Craggs/Avert (top) and iStock/mapodile (above). 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.