Teenager fights Aids in Zambia

Naveen Nasir, from Wakefield, is  on a three-month stint in Zambia, working on a project to to help combat the spread of sexual transmitted infections.

Naveen Nasir, from Wakefield, is on a three-month stint in Zambia, working on a project to to help combat the spread of sexual transmitted infections.

A Wakefield teenager is helping stop the spread of HIV in Zambia.

Former Horbury Academy pupil Naveen Nasir, is trying to combat the spread of sexual transmitted infections (STIs) via sex education.

Currently, 1.2 million Zambians live with HIV and there were 20,000 AIDS-related deaths in the African country last year.

Naveen is three months into a Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) project to improve knowledge and understanding of good sexual health. It is part of the International Citizen Service (ICS) programme.

The 19-year-old said: “With issues such as poverty and unemployment already existing in Zambia, sex education is really important here to keep young people in school. When we first arrived, so many teens were unaware of how condoms worked or how they could stop STIs spreading and already, after four weeks of being here I can see a great difference.”

Naveen is helping to deliver sex education classes at local schools and youth groups. She and her team mates are also organising awareness raising days in the community and the training of local volunteers to become Sexual Health Champions.

Naveen said: “So far I have been working with communities and within schools to raise awareness on topics related to sexual reproductive health. With HIV/AIDS being such a problem in Zambia, I think this is one of the best ways to communicate and discuss with people directly about how easy it is to avoid it. At first, only small numbers of people wanted to listen but as the weeks have progressed and the message is spreading we are going back to the communities with a bigger audience, growing each time. It is amazing to be a part of such a positive change.”