Zambia: anti-AIDS clubs.


At the most recent assessment of membership size in February 1992, almost 40,000 boys and girls belonged to 1150 Anti-AIDS Clubs in Zambia. Boys comprised 56% of membership, although 88% of clubs had members of both sexes. 49% of the clubs were based in primary and secondary schools, 5% in tertiary institutions, and the remainder in communities. The formation of Anti-AIDS Clubs by children and adolescents was suggested by the author in 1987 as a way of turning as many young people as possible into knowledgeable, committed voluntary community AIDS educators. A male boarding school student in Lusaka formed the first club with his fellow students from all over the country. Club members talked about AIDS with their friends and extended family members when they went home for holiday, effectively spreading the idea and fostering the formation of additional clubs. Approximately 1500 clubs had registered with the project by the end of 1992. Club members pledge to avoid sexually transmitted HIV themselves by remaining celibate before marriage and being monogamous within marriage, to teach friends about HIV and AIDS, and to help people who are infected or ill. Club registration, membership, and AIDS information are available free from the project. The author notes that the project is, however, expensive and relies heavily upon donor funding. Although the Anti-AIDS Project in Zambia was one of the first AIDS programs in Africa to focus upon children, many African countries now have children's AIDS programs.


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