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Lusaka, Zambia: First Lady of the Republic of Zambia Mrs Esther Lungu has launched the #YoungSmartSafe #HIVfree campaign in Lusaka, which she has described as a key initiative towards ending HIV as a public health threat by 2030, especially among adolesceets and young people. 

Speaking at the official launch, Mrs. Lungu said Zambia has entered a new dawn as far as HIV prevention is concerned because the country has many options in the fight. She added that Zambia has in the past lost many lives but that with the help of partners, the country is repainting the dark and gloomy picture of AIDS to one of hope. 

Mrs. Lungu has however noted the need to do more to stop new HIV infections especially among adolescents and young people, calling on them to be smart as well as keep themselves safe to prevent the spread of HIV. Mrs Lungu highlighted increased risky sexual behavoiurs among young people, which have led to the emergency of a triple tragedy - high HIV infections, adolescent pregnancy and child marriages. The First Lady has since reaffirmed her commitment to contribute significantly towards the Zambia Ending AIDS campaign intended to eliminate AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

“The #YoungSmartSafe #HIVfree campaign will contribute to ongoing national efforts to address key drivers of HIV especialy among our young people, who are the present and the future of our nation” added Mrs Lungu.

And Minister of Health Dr. Chitalu Chilufya through Permanent Secretary for Administration Ms. Kakulubelwa Mulalelo has expressed optimism to ending HIV as a public health threat by 2030 through involvement of adolescents and young people.

Meanwhile, United Nations Resident Coordinator Dr Coumba Mar Gadio has called for concerted efforts centered round HIV prevention among young people, considering that the future communities’ and societies depended on them. She said adolescent girls are most vulnerable hence the need to prioritise them in all interventions, further restating the UN’s commitment to ending AIDS by 2030.

The #YoungSmartSafe #HIVfree campaign, supported by UNFPA in partnership with the Ministry of Health, encourages young people to be smart by acquiring information on HIV prevention and treatment, and be safe by preventing risks associated with sexual engagement. Since its launch, the campaign continues to contribute to increased awareness of HIV prevention among young people in Zambia through various multi-media platforms.