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African Youth urged to utilise technology to seek information on HIV/AIDS

Renowned Malawian TV personality Geoffrey Kapusa, has called upon young people to embrace technology in their quest for answers related to HIV and AIDS and sexual reproductive health issues.
Speaking in an interview with the Lusaka Star, shortly after making a presentation at the recent Southern and Eastern Africa Youth Conference on HIV and AIDS and Reproductive Health Rights for Sustainable Development (SEYCHOAIDS) in Lilongwe Malawi, Kapusa popularly known as “Mr. Splash” because of his music show “Music Splash” on Malawi Broadcasting Corporation TV, said young people often struggle to find answers when it comes to HIV and AIDS and sexual reproductive health issues.
He noted that technology, specifically the internet, could play a huge role in giving young people the answers they require.
“Young people have got so many questions related to HIV and AIDS and reproductive health and their sources of such information are often limited to what they hear from their peers, most of which is inaccurate. This ends up increasing their vulnerability to HIV,” he said.
Kapusa said youth must take advantage of the vast pool of information and knowledge that the internet offers on different issues including sexual reproductive health.
“There is a lot that youth can learn from the internet. You can google up anything, no matter how silly it may seem, the answer will be provided by the net,” he said.
He, however, cautioned that even though there is so much knowledge to tap from on the internet, there is a need to be selective because not everything the internet provides is true.
Kapusa, who tested HIV positive in December 2006, said the internet has played a significant role in giving him most of the answers he has required in order to keep healthy and live positively.
He said it is not his friends or parents that gave him answers on how to live positively but that it was information from the internet which made him realize that he can actually live a happy and healthy life even with the HIV virus.
“Yes, it is strange, but it was from the internet that I got assured that this can happen to anyone and that it is not the end of the world,” he said.
Kapusa said that it is technology which has also made it possible for him to be in touch with other people who are in similar situations and that these have provided psychological support for him.
“Through the internet, I am able to network with other journalists who are also HIV positive and we share personal experiences which also provide more answers for us because most of what we go through is similar,” he stated.
He said most young people spent so much time on the internet, particularly social network sites, which was a good thing, but that there was need for them to use the internet for information that will help them acquire knowledge on how to handle issues in sexual reproductive health and HIV and AIDS.
Kapusa recently went public about his HIV positive status. Most Malawians are usually uncomfortable to disclose their HIV status for fear of being stigmatized and discriminated against.
Kapusa said he came out in the open with the hope that he could reach out to someone who is struggling with the issue of being HIV positive and to assure those living with the virus that it is not the end of the world.

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