PSI/Liberia's hit radio show, "Let's Talk about Sex," is reaching
youth with important messages about HIV prevention and
MONROVIA, Liberia — In November, more than 300 youth packed into a local YMCA in Monrovia. The draw: PSI/Liberia’s live broadcast of the “Let’s Talk About Sex” radio program, encouraging youth to know their status by getting tested for HIV.
Although the opportunity to be featured live on national radio drew a sizeable crowd on a school day, the event fueled excitement by offering prizes to those who got tested. Every teenager who went through counseling and testing received a PSI/SmartChoice T-shirt that read, “I got tested for HIV, have YOU?”and was entered into a raffle to receive one of a slew of excellent prizes.
The event was centered around athletic games and engaging activities that promoted knowledge about HIV, such as a basketball tournament that pitted schools against each other, an HIV quiz and an abstinence debate. The crowd participation made for many enjoyable moments, especially during the quiz portion when participants struggled to properly identify the meaning of VCT or answer correctly if mosquitoes could transmit HIV. When asked if the contestants were correct, the crowd bellowed a resounding, “No!”
PSI/Liberia has made HIV and teen pregnancy prevention its core focus because of some alarming trends among the youth population. According to Liberia’s Demographic Health Survey, 50% of the country's population is under age 25; 1.5% (51,000 out of 3.4 million) of the population has HIV; 23% of adolescent girls give birth before age 18; 59% of sexually active female youth and 86.7% of sexually-active male youth have engaged in high risk sexual practices; and although knowledge of HIV facts is high among youth, only 14% of women and 21% of men said they use a condom.
If immediate action is not taken, Liberia risks a double-digit HIV epidemic among its youth. Through the growing popularity of the LTAS radio show and the launch of other “youth-friendly” initiatives, PSI/Liberia hopes to see increased awareness of the HIV/teen pregnancy dilemma and, eventually, a reduction in those rates among Liberia’s future: the youth.
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Health Areas: HIV