AIDS-free holidays 2019

July 07, 2023

The overall aim is to raise awareness and reduce the risk of STI and HIV infection among at least 700,000 young schoolchildren, university students and unemployed young people.

The esplanade of Synergies Africaines contre le Sida et les Souffrances was the setting for the official launch of the 17th edition of Vacances Sans Sida on Thursday 1 August 2019. This major campaign was launched in July 2003 by the First Lady of Cameroon, Her Excellency Mrs Chantal BIYA, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, and is aimed at young people in and out of school during the holiday period. The ceremony was co-chaired by the Minister of Public Health, Dr MANAOUDA Malachie, in her capacity as Chairman of the National AIDS Control Committee (CNLS), and her counterpart in charge of Youth and Civic Education, MOUNOUNA FOUTSOU. The official launch of this year's event was held under the theme "Android generation, let's click on HIV testing". In the presence of more than half a dozen members of government and related bodies, non-governmental organisations and health partners, the speakers took turns at the podium to reiterate their commitment and relentless mobilisation in the fight against the HIV epidemic in Cameroon, in line with the UNAIDS 90-90-90 objective. Spearheaded by Cameroon's First Lady, Chantal Biya, the Vacances sans sida campaign is a national initiative aimed at raising awareness among young people during their holidays.

The aim is to educate, raise awareness and inform through the distribution of awareness-raising materials, educational talks, individual interviews and through social networks; to encourage voluntary screening (free tests) and the collection of results; and to provide information and refer HIV-positive people to care facilities. The aim is for young pupils and students to know their HIV status. For the Comité National de Lutte contre le Sida, this is more than just a slogan: it's about strengthening behaviour change communication through the development of differentiated approaches for different age groups, focusing on the acquisition of skills to adopt lower-risk behaviour. This option is justified in the National Strategic Plan for the Fight against HIV, AIDS and STIs 2018-2022, which identifies young people and adolescents (girls and boys) aged 15 to 24 in vulnerable situations as one of the priority targets for action. More than 700,000 young people are targeted by this 17th edition of the "Vacances sans sida" campaign. As well as mobilising 650 peer educators in towns and villages across the country to encourage voluntary testing and the collection of results, and to provide information to HIV-positive people, social networks will be put to good use. This widely-used digital medium aims to reach as many people as possible across the country, at the click of a button.