UNAIDS and digital television company StarTimes have launched a mobile online video application to help increase HIV/AIDS awareness among Kenyan youth as new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths increase among the youth in Africa yet prevention information and knowledge is yet to reach out to them efficiently.
According to UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé, “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.”
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. With over 70 per cent of the population in Africa being below the age of 35 and without adequate HIV/AIDS information, the partnership with StarTimes will completely change the situation and help grow a generation free of AIDS.
StarTimes Group Vice President Guo Ziqi noted that, “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 reach15 million at the end of 2018. StarTimes App will now be streaming the “Zero Discrimination” messages being part of the cooperation with UNAIDS.”
“Sharing information, bringing knowledge and making sure that we can change young people will be key to ending AIDS,” added Mr. 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, Ms. 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 of “Access to Satellite TV for 10,000 African Villages” was first announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2015. Chinese government will aid each of 10,112 African villages with two StarTimes Projector TVs, one 32 inch Digital TV set and 20 DTH decoders and satellite dishes.
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 Ms. Guo.