Young people with innovative ideas to reduce HIV infections among adolescents will receive cash incentives to showcase best practices to fight the deadly virus during an international conference in Kisumu.
At least 600 youthful delegates from Eastern and Southern Africa are expected to submit proposals at the conference dubbed ‘30 Under 30 Awards.’
This comes at a time when most new HIV infections occur among adolescents and young people aged between 15and 24 years.
The young people will present their practices and innovation in HIV prevention, care and treatment during the first ever international Conference of reducing HIV in adolescents and youth set to be held on June 14-19 in the Lakeside City.
The youth, whose presentation will win, will receive a seed funding of Sh500,000.
The conference is the brain child of Impact Research and Development Organisation (IRDO), the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) and Nyanza Initiatives for Girls Education and Empowerment (Nigee).
Speaking to the Nation IRDO Director Kawango Agot said half of the presenters at the Kisumu conference will be adolescents and young people under 30 years.
“Youth under 30 years with innovative ideas on reducing HIV, especially among adolescent girls and young women, will receive seed funding and mentorship to implement their projects,” said Dr Agot.
She urged young people to submit proposals and share their work with other youth from Kenya and Eastern and Southern Africa to reduce the burden of the disease among their peers.
However, she said youth above 30 years can also submit their abstracts which must be based on data from adolescents and young people of the age bracket of 10-24 years.
At the same time, Dr Agot announced that youth whose abstracts and proposals will be selected, will not pay registration fee.
“We are also encouraging organisations with youth led best practices on HIV and reproductive health programmes to apply before February 28 deadline,” said Dr Agot.
Dr Agot, who has been in the frontline in the fight against HIV in Nyanza region, appealed to well-wishers including county governments, managers of the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) to sponsor young people from their respective regions to attend the conference.
“The fight against HIV among the youth must not be left to government and non-governmental organisations alone. All the actors from the grassroots must join hands to reduce the burden that is still a threat to the future and prosperity of this country,” said Dr Agot.
A recent report by national Aids and Sexually Transmitted Infections Control Programme revealed that at least eight counties account for 50 per cent of all new HIV infections.
Six of the counties that experts have raised red flag over the increasing new infections are in Western and Nyanza. Other cases have been reported in Nairobi and Rift Valley.