In spite of the nationwide campaign, most of them claim they already know their HIV status.
Some 50 Peer Educators have since July 30, 2015 have been criss-crossing the town of Buea and its environs to educate the population on the dangers of HIV/AIDS and the prevention of other sexually transmitted diseases. Their main target is youths and also adults and aged individuals.
The areas targeted are popular gatherings like churches, markets, popular bars, among others. Talking to Cameroon Tribune, the Project Assistant, Regional Technical Group for South West, Nyite Voilet, lauded the response of the population that has been very receptive to the campaign teams. She disclosed that the rate of HIV/AIDS infection in the region has dropped from 8 per cent in 2004 to 5.7 percent in 2014.
“Patients who are tested positive are followed up by Community Relay Agents and are sensitized on how to prevent further spreading of the disease,” she explained.
However, the leader of the AIDS-free Holidays campaign team at Muea Market, Doreen Ndime, said they have received timid attention from the public. The reason is that few youths are turning up for screening. As such, she has been calling on the population to do their HIV test, abstain from sex and for those sexually active, to use condoms.
“Most youths do not believe in the existence of AIDS and don’t bother about looking for ways to prevent it. For those that even give a listening ear to us, they claim that they already know their HIV status,” Doreen Ndime regretted.
The cold and wet weather in Buea has not been helping matters. The teams are stationed in places like Muea Market, Street Two Great Soppo, Bongo Square, UB Junction and the Mile 17 Motor Park, where the screening is done on scheduled days. However, the downpour has been a major impediment to showing up for screening and counseling.
Julius Enah, Counselor at the Buea Regional Hospital Annex and a member of the campaign team said the rain has a negative effect on the campaign. He disclosed that they receive an average of 200 persons a day and could have done better if not for the bad weather that is characterized by rain, cold and fog. “This makes most people to remain indoors,” he explained.