Let Youth Lead Advocate Stars in PEPFAR Documentary
A Sentebale Let Youth Lead Advocate has featured in a new documentary called ‘Have it All’, produced by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in coordination with the Ministry of Health and Wellness in Botswana.
The 40 minute film, which was launched on May 22 by the United States Embassy, shows the life and times of five Batswana living openly on HIV treatment.
One of the five stars of the film who gives a personal account of relationships while living with HIV is 23-year-old Sentebale Let Youth Lead Advocate, Masedi Kewamodimo.
Masedi, who is also Advocacy and Communications Officer at Sentebale in Botswana, was born with HIV and, through initiatives like Let Youth Lead, is dedicated to educating her peers about the disease, drawing from her own experience of growing up with the virus. Through her work with Sentebale, she is promoting healthy living for HIV-positive and HIV-negative individuals.
The documentary also tells the story of Botswana’s rise as a world leader in the response to HIV/AIDS, and the launch of the Treat All program in 2016, which enabled Batswana to start free treatment as soon as they test positive for HIV.
US Ambassador to Botswana, Mr Earl Miller said; “We have many rivers to cross to get to epidemic control and an AIDS free generation. Today, HIV infections rates remain unacceptably high […] There are nearly 14,000 new infections per year. That’s 37 new infections a day.”
He added that Masedi and her co-stars were candid and courageous for publicly sharing their personal journey and marathon with relationships, parenting and continuing stigma.
Speaking at the launch of the film, which coincides with the second anniversary of Treat All’s inception, Botswana’s Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Alfred Madigele said the programme “affirms government’s commitment to what is now viewed around the world as a critical cutting-edge approach towards controlling the epidemic by 2020 and ending AIDS by 2030.”
Sentebale launched the Let Youth Lead advocacy programme in April 2017. It provides young people with a platform to voice the challenges of youth living with HIV and those affected by the epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa, and aims to engage policymakers to drive positive change in HIV interventions that better support this generation.