What Young Women Want

6 December 2017

This letter comes from a group of young African women and reflects their HIV prevention research priorities. It was submitted to the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Division of AIDS (DAIDS) during the open-comment period concerning the structure and agenda for its next funding cycle (2021-2027).

"Dear Dr. Carl Dieffenbach,

We are eight young women from South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe who were involved in recent consultations for planned HIV prevention trials with young women. We are interested in HIV prevention research because in each of our countries, young women are at high risk for HIV and we are so excited to hear that finally the needs of protecting young women are at the forefront of studies exploring new prevention tools. We understand that you and DAIDS are considering the research priorities for the next several years and we want to make sure that our voices are heard.

We are:
Sanele Ngulube – Zimbabwe, age 20
Irene Hware - Zimbabwe, age 22
Cleopatra Makura - Zimbabwe, age 21
Shakirah Green – Uganda, age 24
Catherine Nakkide - Uganda, age 22
Charity Twikirize - Uganda, age 22
Sinazo Peter - South Africa, age 24
Anelisa Madalane - South Africa, age 18

Please accept this as our feedback to you as you consider the research agenda that affects our future.

We have arranged our suggestions to you based on the themes we discussed together as a group. Here is what we want.

1) We want choice. The feeling that young women have when we know we have choices on how to protect ourselves, gives us power within and we get confident. The power and confidence means there are less chances that we become reckless about our sexual reproductive health. Choice frees us from slavery of any type because we are able to say yes or no, or even pick from a variety without being judged.

Most of all, we, young women, love experiencing new things and we love pushing boundaries. We want fun and exciting things and we shouldn’t be scared of using other methods because they are not of equal standard. Simply put, choice makes our life better...(Continued)"

Read the full article online here.