South African activist gives ‘voice’ to HIV/AIDS awareness

Description: Last week at the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Mexico City, the discussion came up around how to use digital tools to reach out to youth on protecting themselves against HIV/AIDS. According to a recent study conducted by UNAIDS, 45 percent of new HIV infections last year were among young people aged 15 – 24. HIV/AIDS advocacy organizations such as Taking It Global and Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS showcased how online social networking has created an unprecedented opportunity to mobilize youth on prevention and treatment options. However, a young woman from South Africa showed that sometimes it only takes one person to make a difference in the lives of others.

Tools Being Used: Podcast

What Is She Doing: Thembi Ngubane was diagnosed with HIV when she was 16 years old, and three years later decided to audio record her struggles living with the disease. Ngubane’s blunt talks range from how she contracted HIV to her initial resistance to taking anti-retrovirals due to stigma in her community. Her recordings were collected by Radio Diaries, a U.S. non-profit that helps people document their lives, and have been broadcast to over 50 million people around the world. The recordings can also be heard on her website.

“I am very confident and I feel very happy about speaking out,” Ngubane said. “Speaking out is really good for me, and I encourage you to have a HIV test and know your status.”

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