“Womandla! Can PrEP Empower Young Women to Stay HIV-Negative?” panel members

On Wednesday afternoon, I attended a Global Village session in the Youth Pavilion titled “Womandla! Can PrEP Empower Young Woman to Stay HIV-Negative?”

The session started with a short, informative video about HIV, PrEP, and PrEP’ uses and side effects. The video is targeted at young South African women, and featured Rosina, who was a member of our Safer Conception panel, and who I interviewed later in the week.

For more information about the session and the panel members, you can visit their programme page on the AIDS 2016 website. the AIDS 2016 website. You can also view the slides for the session.

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Image courtesy of aids2016.org.

Panel members not mentioned in the above screenshot were:

  • Michelle Moorhouse, Senior Clinician at Wits RHI
  • Deborah Baron, Researcher at Wits RHI
  • Lebogang Motsumi, Zazi Campaign Ambassador
  • Nachizya Namukanga, Dreams Ambassador

I was tweeting during the session, and whoo-whee did these excellent women say the most excellent things! Lady power!

Some takeaways from the session were:

  • Because of the prevalence of sexual violence in African countries, PrEP can be especially useful in protecting young women from contracting HIV/AIDS, as they cannot always negotiate condom/barrier protection use.
  • Young women need to be empowered so that they can ask for PrEP and adhere to the drug.
  • We can’t do anything for young women without including them in the conversation. Inclusion is key if PrEP is going to be delivered to young women in an effective and sustainable manner. “Nothing for them without them!”
  • Safe spaces for conversations about PrEP and SRHR are only going to help in the efforts to decrease new HIV infections and increase access to sexual and reproductive health services.

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Taft Weber-Kilpack is a recent high school graduate from San Francisco. With a passion for reproductive rights and gender equality, Taft has volunteered with HIVE and Homeless Prenatal Program in SF, studied reproductive rights for independent projects, and made condom couture. When she’s not talking smack about the patriarchy, you can find Taft at her sewing machine (but she’s probably still fighting the patriarchy there too).