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World's AIDS Day, szemui ho, 360 MAGAZINE

Youth Against AIDS

Youth Against AIDS and AXA announce a collaboration to build a prevention platform for the young generation

On occasion of World AIDS Day 2019 Youth Against AIDS (YAA) and AXA announced a collaboration to support YAA´s efforts to create a comprehensive sexual health and prevention platform for the young generation.

Digital tools and technical innovations are creating new opportunities in the fight against sexually transmitted diseases. This is especially true for prevention amongst young people. YAA and AXA use the advantages of the omnipresence of smartphones and growing demand of digital services to reach young people regardless of location or time. The platform, called FAQ YOU, includes a chatbot to answer the most common and pressing questions about sexual health and sexually transmitted diseases (FAQs) 24/7. The beta version of the chatbot will be launched in the US. Further tools will be integrated into the platform which will give  young users guidance to services like conducting HIV tests, finding an STI clinic or condom dispensers or getting in touch with medical services via tele medicine. The platform aims to complement personal counseling services, which are often unavailable for young people, at at later stage.

“Today, we see many silos in the sexual health sector. It remains a challenge for our generation to access credible content, get the right answers on demand and to access youth-friendly services. We want to change this by creating a digital one-stop-shop solution for all needs on sexual health and  education that meet the needs of our young target group. We believe that we need more innovation in prevention and FAQ YOU will be our answer to push these topics and to make a difference in the life of young people. We are grateful for the commitment of AXA that enables us to use modern technologies to help our generation to live healthier lives.”

Daniel Nagel, CEO Youth against AIDS 

“The partnership with Youth Against AIDS is very exciting for AXA – with this initiative we support YAA to evolve from a communication and awareness channel for youth to a digital source of health related content and services on sexual health and other taboo topics. We bring our expertise in emerging technologies and data while remaining true to our commitment to health and disease prevention.”

– Astrid Stange, Chief Operating Officer AXA Group




Youth Against AIDS Head of Product Anna Konopka and Astrid Stange, Chief Operating Officer AXA Group.
 

About Youth against AIDS (YAA)

Youth Against AIDS is an international youth-focused NGO. 

YAA develops innovative sexual health information and dialogue services for young people. To achieve their goals, the young team finds new paths to old challenges: unconventional and courageous. YAA networks with partners who play a role in the lives of  the young target group and implement innovative formats with them – both online and locally. This ensures that YAA  is present in the everyday life of young people. The organisation’s offers are open to everyone, easy to understand and always available.

What is important to us: respectful interaction without fear of contact – with oneself and others. We create awareness without fear.


Inua Partners in Hope

Judith A. Burnett, PhD, associate professor of counselor education at Stetson University, has been helping youth who are impacted by HIV/AIDS in Naivasha, Kenya in the Rift Valley Province, which is located northwest of Nairobi, collaboratively as a team member of Inua Partners in Hope for the past three years.

The nonprofit organization is a faith-based ministry that works to expand the opportunities of orphaned and vulnerable youth. Many of the youth have lost their parents to HIV or AIDS. Inua, which means to lift together, raise up or elevate in Swahili, helps them overcome poverty, malnutrition and illness in order to become self-sufficient and achieve long-term sustainability.

Youth are enrolled in the two-year Inua Partners in Hope program, which includes mentors and embraces the well-being of the whole child by focusing on life skills and the eight dimensions of wellness: emotional wellness, physical wellness, social wellness, occupational wellness, spiritual wellness, intellectual wellness, environmental wellness and financial wellness.

Mothers who are infected with HIV or AIDS can transfer the disease to their children. The program provides the youth with reproductive health information as part of their life-skills training, so they can receive education about the subject, medication and support if they are infected with the disease.

Dr. Burnett is an expert in reproductive health and felt her background and research could make a difference with the Kenyan youth.

Discussing reproductive health is a challenging subject, but Dr. Burnett is in the process of developing training that is culturally meaningful and relatable to both men and women.

In August, clinical mental health master’s student Joey Lynn Jachec, who is the project’s research assistant, delivered to the Kenyan team the collaboratively-designed mentor training curriculum and had an opportunity to attend a graduation ceremony. The opportunity was a life-changing experience where she was able to hear the graduates’ success stories and learn how Inua Partners in Hope provided them with the tools for success that helped them find a career and become self-sufficient.

There were 200 youth who participated in the program during the last youth program cycle. At the end of the program, 181 completed the graduation assessment.

Since the Inua Partners in Hope program began nine years ago, 437 youth have graduated and more than 2,000 youth have been impacted, which includes the graduates’ siblings and children.

Dr. Burnett and Joey Lynn discussed their Inua Partners in Hope involvement and the mental health curriculum for youth in Naivasha, Kenya during a presentation at the Webster Vienna Private University in Vienna, Austria in October. The presentation was well-received during the conference, which was hosted by the European branch of the American Counseling Association.