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ZAMBIA: HIV/AIDS prevalence levels too high

JOHANNESBURG, 25 July 2001 (PlusNews) - USAID AIDS specialist Dr Karen Shelly said on Tuesday that the HIV/AIDS prevalence level in Zambia, which stands at 19.7 percent, was “an extremely high rate”. Speaking at a reportback meeting on the impact of mass media campaigns aimed at youth, Shelly said research conducted by USAID and UNAIDS had shown a reduction of the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate among youth, the ‘Post’ reported. Shelly told IRIN on Wednesday that these media campaigns reached about 50 percent of the youth in the country and affected the prevalence rate. Society for Family Health (SFH) senior marketing manager, Chilufya Mwaba, was reported saying that she supported the Helping Each other And Responsibly Together(HEART) project which focuses its campaign on youths in both urban and rural areas. Mwaba said a vast majority of youths - 64 percent of girls and 70 percent of boys - did not believe they were at risk of contracting the deadly virus. “The most common reason for not using a condom is because they trust their partner, they fear the other partner will object to condom use, or they don’t know where to buy one,” she was quoted saying. According to the statistics released by HEART, an estimated 100 Zambians died each day as a result of HIV/AIDS. The HEART campaign has been successful in reaching the youth because it has been planned and implemented by the youth, according to the report.

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