Since 2003, Her Royal Highness, Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway has been a strong advocate for empowering women and children in responding to the AIDS epidemic throughout the world. Earlier this week, she visited the United Republic of Tanzania to assess the response of youth to the AIDS response in the country and mother-to-child transmission of AIDS.
The crown Princess said this of her visit: “It is moving to meet mothers who are in good health and caring for children born free from HIV thanks to antiretroviral medicines.” She continued by expressing her personal elation for how the country’s youth are taking a more active role in the AIDS response. “It is also particularly rewarding for me to see young people taking up leadership roles in the AIDS response and being equipped with the skills to guide the United Republic of Tanzania towards an AIDS-free generation.”
Her Royal Highness made several stops on her visit. She traveled to facilities charged with providing services to women and young people living with HIV. She also met with mothers with HIV with children born without the virus.
She visited one of the twenty-six clinics responsible for providing HIV intervention, support and treatment to communities exhibiting the most need. This clinic is a PASADA (Pastoral Activities and Services for People with AIDS Dar es Salaam Archdiocese) clinic, serving the Dar es Salaam and Pwani regions.
The Crown Princess also engaged with young activists at the Stepping Stones Community of Practice. Here, youth and adolescents can receive a full range of life-skills training where they learn about gender equality and HIV and sexual education.
There is a definite correlation between these increased educational efforts and service and the decline of new HIV cases in the United Republic of Tanzania. At the end of 2014, the country had approximately 1.5 million people living with HIV. The diagnoses of new HIV infection cases declined more than 50% from 2000 to 2009. What appears to be most significant is the 70% decline of new HIV infections diagnosed in children. This drop in the number of cases was recorded from 2009 to 2014.