"Something is eluding us in the fight against AIDS. When travelling through southern and eastern Africa it is impossible to dodge the dour reality of how AIDS is annihilating the community life of village and neighbourhoods, once the cornerstone and strength of the African way of life". Young men and women who are exposed to the facts about HIV and AIDS from skilled educators are still becoming infected. The author visited and spoke with community workers in South Africa. She also visited SALAMA a PWRDF partner in Nampula, Mozambique, with very explicit education and awareness programs. "Program Coordinator Yolanda Napoleao was quite candid in saying information and knowledge is not enough, Stopping AIDS is about a personal journey that includes changing behaviour. Educators find it hard to know what triggers the change". In Nairobi, Kenya, the author visited Crisis Pregnancy Ministries of Kenya (CPMK), a small faith-based NGO which emphasizes abstinence. "Secular NGOs and governments are doing a great job as they focus on the technical aspects of the problem: treatment, use of condoms, protected sex, rights of women to negotiate safe sex, etc. But as many educators assert, it is behavioural change, specifically young men's behaviour, that will ultimately have a greater impact in the battle against AIDS. CPMK puts the onus on teens to change their behaviour. And an answer to what is eluding us in the fight against AIDS among youth might just be there. Given all the information and options, young teens might be better equipped to choose a life path that leads to change because they respect life and know that AIDS kills".
"This article is the first in a series". The author is "Development Program Coordinator: Africa, Primate's World Relief and Development Fund. She recently returned from a PWRDF partners visit to South Africa, Kenya and Mozambique."