This series of On the Record covers the work of Youth Against AIDS in Africa. It was published in late 2001 and early 2002.
This issue introduces the AIDS epidemic with a particular focus on its effect on young Africans. While acknowledging that youth are disproportionately affected by the disease, the issue goes on to discuss how young Africans are also the best equipped to fight off the disease even though they are not being used as well as they could. After introducing the topic, the organization and the role of youth, Issue 1 goes onto introduce the six countries that On the Record – Youth Against AIDS focuses on: South Africa, Botswana, Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya and Uganda.
The second issue profiles two young HIV-positive women, Palesa from South Africa and Inviolata Mmbwavi from Kenya. Their stories show similarities in how they contracted the virus but also show striking differences in how they have dealt with their infection. While Palesa “cries with rage,” Mmbwavi looks to the future with hope.
This issue highlights the life of Lydiah Bosire, the founder of Youth Against AIDS and also addresses YAA’s work at the UN General Assembly on AIDS (UNGASS). The issue criticizes the lack of formal involvement of young people during the UNGASS conference and speaks of Ms Bosire’s efforts in other high-end meetings. Moses Imayi, the coordinator of the Nigerian Youth Action Rangers and YAA’s representative in Nigeria, is also introduced in this issue.
The highlight of Issue 4 is a report on AIDS in South Africa including such topics as the link between AIDS and social condition and racism, the effect of AIDS on children born to HIV-positive mothers, and the discrimination felt by people with HIV/AIDS. This issue also includes a diary excerpt from a South African doctor who has worked with AIDS patients as well as a report about Charlotte Mjele, a HIV-positive young woman from South Africa.
Issue 5 deals with the sexuality of young people in Africa. Youth are engaging in sex at an increasingly young age, but as this issue notes, these early sexual encounters are sometimes coercive due to sex trafficking and other forms of sexual exploitation. Poverty is also a huge factor and thus forces young people to sell their bodies in order to pay for food and education. Society does not help this situation and as this issue points out, social stigmas prevent youth from purchasing condoms out of shame or humiliation from adults.
This issue focuses on how the AIDS epidemic affects women in particular. It is sometimes common for men to engage in extramarital affairs and thus married women often fall victim to the disease even when they have been faithful. This issue tells of one particular man’s story who may have infected up to four women and lost his wife due to his irresponsibility. Also included is the story of a woman who fell victim to AIDS due to her husband’s polygamy.
Issue 7 focuses on the link between sexual violence and the spread of AIDS. The issue speaks of the prevalence of rape within families with a special profile of a young woman who was violated by her uncle.
Issue 8 focuses on Uganda and why it is considered Africa’s success story in terms of AIDS prevention. The struggle to get young people tested is addressed in this issue, as well as features about a particularly effective NGO, TASO and successful media and education campaigns that have helped reduce AIDS infection in the country.
This issue wraps up the series by giving an overview of the alliances YAA has made in the United Kingdom and United States. In this issue, YAA also encourages readers to contribute to a letter-writing campaign to pressure the UK government to give more money to the AIDS fight in Africa.