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UNAIDS and StarTimes to increase HIV/AIDS awareness through mobile application

By Standard Reporter | Sep 11th 2018 | 3 min read
By Standard Reporter | September 11th 2018
StarTimes Group Vice President Guo Ziqi, Malawian First Lady and former president of the Organisation of African First Ladies Against AIDS, Gertrude Mutharika (centre) and UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé.

UNAIDS and digital television company StarTimes are set to increasing HIV/AIDS awareness among Kenyan youth with mobile online video application.

Under the theme of “Value of new media in Africa, HIV/AIDS Prevention Campaign” the two organizations have agreed to explore technology to spread HIV/AIDS related content.

New HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths are likely to occur among the youth in Africa as HIV/AIDS prevention information and knowledge is yet to reach out to them efficiently.

“We have seen progress in most countries today, but the biggest challenge that we face is complacency. The young people don’t have information; they don’t have knowledge, so they don’t protect themselves. Information, knowledge and education is key and that’s why StarTimes is a very strategic partner for us,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé on Monday.

It has been an urgent issue for global HIV/AIDS Prevention Campaign to engage more young people in prevention.

“Based on current technology trends, StarTimes launched its video streaming service in African markets with StarTimes App. The App has so far attracted over 8 million downloads and the figure is expected to reach 15 million at the end of 2018. StarTimes App will now be streaming the “Zero Discrimination” messages being part of the cooperation with UNAIDS,” noted StarTimes Group Vice President Guo Ziqi.

With over 70 per cent of the population in Africa being below the age of 35 and without adequate HIV/AIDS information, the partnership is strategic to help grow a generation free of AIDS.

“Sharing information, bringing knowledge and making sure that we can change young people will be key to ending AIDS,” added Sidibé.

With smartphone use and internet penetration soaring, Africa is set for a communication way revolution. Similarly in Europe, US and China, more and more African young people, get used to watching stream videos on phones.

The launch of StarTimes App for HIV prevention is timely and appropriate as it will greatly enhance respective Country efforts to reduce HIV infection, particularly on young people.

During the meeting, Guo introduced the China-Africa Cooperation project, “Access to Satellite TV for 10,000 African Villages”, which is being undertaken by StarTimes, and proposed to explore possible ways to help popularize HIV/AIDS prevention information and knowledge in rural areas with the platform.

The project was first announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2015.

UNAIDS and StarTimes formally established partnership on 12th May, 2017 with signing a MOU in Beijing “to reduce the impact of HIV across Africa by disseminating messages to the general public to increase awareness of HIV and UNAIDS’ work and reduce stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV and populations affected by HIV”.

After the establishment of partnership, StarTimes and UNAIDS are boosting their cooperation in different African countries, aiming to mobilizing all available resources to enhance the awareness of HIV/AIDS in the continent.

“With more broadcasting platforms and a bigger and diversified subscriber base and richer content, we will be able to make the best of all our resources to help end the AIDS epidemic by 2030,” concluded Guo.

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