Having access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services is imperative to a person’s health. PZAT provides SRH services to adolescents and young adults through the SHAZ! HUB. SHAZ!, which stands for “Shaping Adolescent Health in Zimbabwe is a youth drop in centre and comprehensive sexual health clinic for adolescents and young adults aged 16-24 years located at CitiMed hospital (Ward B). The HUB has been operating since 2003, first as an NIH research clinic, and now as a “safe space” for all young people in the greater Chitungwiza area to relax and have fun, to study and gain life skills, and to access health services in a welcoming and discreet environment. The HUB offers the following;
Free comprehensive sexual health and HIV services: We have one qualified Nurse Counsellor at the centre who provide HIV testing, STI screening and treatment, pregnancy testing, provision of short to medium contraception, treatment of minor ailments and counselling and support sessions. PZAT links with Population Services Zimbabwe in the community for the provision of long acting family planning methods provided through contraceptive implants. The HUB also offer oral PrEP to adolescents and young people who are negative but at high risk for HIV infection. This includes young key populations (young Men who have sex with men (MSM), young girls selling sex, young female sex workers and transgender youth around Chitungwiza and we collaborate with Population Services International (PSI). The SHAZ! Hub also offers access to voluntary medical male circumcision, and it is linked with the OI/ART clinics at CitiMed and the Chitungwiza Hospital so that young clients living with HIV can access HIV care and treatment while receiving adherence and social support from counsellors and peer supporters at the HUB in collaboration with AFRICAID.
Life skills and sexuality education: Life skills education sessions are conducted by HUB staff and peer educators, with curricula that covers topics such as relationships, negotiation skills, and HIV and sexual and reproductive health information.
Educational Support and Vocational training course: We provide quite spaces for young people to study, access to computers and basic tutoring. For young people who are not in school, we offer training in short vocational courses such as candle making, dish washing liquid, cobra making, toilet cleaner and cordial drink making – young people can then sell for income generation. We also help link young people up with resume building, interviewing skills and to other economic opportunities (e.g. selling air time). The goal is for young people to use these skills to achieve economic stability and independence.
Recreational Activities: As part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle for young people, we have recreational activities like soccer, netball, and dancing. We also provide the space for indoor activities, such as playing cards and watching movies. All services and programs are offered by non-judgmental providers, sensitive to the myriad challenges and issues faced by young people. Our plan is to expand the same model to other parts of the country for adolescents and young people BUT also to use the same model for key populations in Chitungwiza, Harare and Bulawayo.
RESEARCH: SOCIAL MEDIA MESSAGING FOR HIV TESTING AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE IN ZIMBABWE: Through an ongoing NIH funded research project, in partnership with the Centre for AIDS Prevention Studies at the University of California, San Francisco, PZAT explored innovative strategies to mobilize adolescents and young adults to access HIV prevention, treatment and care services through the use of social media and mobile technology. This study aimed to understand the effectiveness of social media messaging to increase the number of young people seeking HIV Testing Services as well as sexual and reproductive health services.This study was operational from 2015 and ended in 2020.