The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Youth Center works to further that aim by providing the young people of Masiphumelele with education about adolescent sexual and reproductive health, HIV prevention, and HIV treatment.
|The HIV counselors' office in the youth center courtyard.|
Although I look very out of place walking around Masi and foreigners often hear tales of violence in the townships, I always feel incredibly comfortable and welcome. In fact, most of my favorite days working at the Desmond Tutu Youth Center involved walking around and exploring Masi.
|Khulu, Anelisa, and myself, taking a groundie in the streets of Masi.|
|Students enjoying free time on the computers.|
Beyond the literature review, Megan and I involved ourselves in as many programs at the youth center as possible. We joined Anelisa a few times as she facilitated girl's club, a weekly session with a group of girls surrounding female health topics. We also helped Buhle and Sphe run tutoring and career guidance workshops in the computer lab.
Another bastion of our time at the youth center was helping Francis, a researcher, organize the data for a study conducted on the acceptability of medical male circumcision. Studies show that complete male circumcision reduces the risk of female to male transmission of HIV by 60% but, many South African males feel cultural and familial pressure to undergo traditional rather than medical circumcision. Traditional circumcision results in higher risk of infection and incomplete circumcision, which does not effectively protect against HIV transmission. The purpose of Francis's study is to determine the attitudes of young men towards traditional and medical male circumcision and thus determine how to best promote medical male circumcision in Masiphumelele and surrounding communities.
Written by Sarah Ragen