Kangemi (Agenzia Fides) - "Young people have a tremendous potential which unfortunately they are often not allowed to take advantage of". This is what Fr. Michael Lewis SJ, President of the Jesuit Superiors of Africa and Madagascar (JESAM) said in the message released on the occasion of the World Day to Combat AIDS which is celebrated today, December 1, 2016. "The African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN) - continues the Jesuit priest in the text sent to Fides – reiterates his firm conviction that the fight against AIDS is not just about sex, or the simple challenge against the virus. It is rather an integral promotion of human development, not least among young people, to allow them to live life to the full and contribute actively to pursue an AIDS free society".
Father Michael continues: "to address the phenomenon of AIDS it is fundamental to urge the potential of young people, to guide them to make the right decisions and act wisely. AJAN is promoting this development through AHAPPY, an innovative program based on Christian values that has already been experienced in Catholic schools and other educational institutions in nine countries in sub-Saharan Africa".
The statistics on the spread of the pandemic among young people are alarming, said the priest. The incidence rate of new infections among teenagers is particularly high: an average of 29 adolescents are infected every hour worldwide, the girls of this age group represent 75% new cases in Sub Saharan Africa. On the continent, AIDS is the leading cause of death among teenagers. "AHAPPY aims at encouraging critical thinking and nurture in the young the growth of moral values, so that they are able to make healthy choices in all aspects of their lives", said Fr. Lewis. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 01/12/2016)