Across the world it is estimated that 10.3 million young people aged 15-24 are living with HIV. Today 50% of all new infections occur in young people specifically. Most don’t know their HIV status.
It’s a trend that the Adolescent and Youth Friendly Services (AYFS) Team at CHIVA South Africa are determined to break. Partnering with 35 health facilities in KwaZulu-Natal province, we are proud to see Pinetown clinic set the pace. With an interim assessment score of 98%, the clinic team are now delivering AYFS services well above the required 80%, within the first five months of our mentoring.
CHIVA South Africa’s dedicated teams work closely with clinics like Pinetown to embed a culture of appropriate, accessible, and high-quality care and treatment, in order to improve the quality of comprehensive Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services to young people. Ensuring that the focus is as much on education, prevention and support, as it is on diagnosis and treatment.
Living positively as an adolescent with HIV poses immense challenges. For some, this is the first time they have access to a service that has been designed with their needs in mind. ‘The love, care and support I got here is unbelievable’ one 16 year old client explains. ‘They never judged me… I accepted myself. I’m not HIV-positive, I’m living with HIV’. For the youth in KwaZulu-Natal, our work sends an important message: your lives matter.
It’s a message that makes all the difference. At CHIVA South Africa, we believe that building self-esteem alongside knowledge and skills is critical to the overall well-being of young people living with HIV in South Africa. That’s why we work to ensure that all adolescents can receive quality SRH services that not only educate, prevent and treat, but that also empower individuals to reach their potential.
Our adolescent client sums it up perfectly: ‘I’m happy with the new me. I thought it (HIV) was going to break me, but it built me.’
All clinics are assessed against a series of 240 questions to meet 10 standards. It’s not easy, but with their sights set on a perfect 100%, Pinetown is a model of positive change for young people across the region.