HIV and Youth - Page 4
Effective strategies for HIV prevention among young people
No single strategy will work to reduce HIV/AIDS infection among young people. However, research has shown that culturally competent, honest programs, that include information about abstinence, contraception, and condoms, can be effective in helping youth reduce risk behaviors. In addition, open and honest parent-child communication about HIV and its prevention can aid youth in making good decisions. Finally, resources must be directed at understanding the epidemics impact on youth; at remedying the socioeconomic disparities which contribute to the epidemic.
Protecting the Health of Women and Girls
When AIDS emerged in the 1980s, it mostly affected men. But today women account for nearly half of all people living with HIV worldwide. Over the past two years, the number of HIV-positive women and girls has increased in every region of the world, with rates rising most rapidly in Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America. In sub-Saharan Africa, 76 per cent of the young people (aged 15-24 years) living with HIV are female.
Most of the women who suffer from HIV/AIDS are in the prime of their productive lives. Simply being identified as HIV positive may result in discrimination, gender-based violence, unemployment, abandonment or the loss of other human rights and freedoms.
The death of women from AIDS deprives families and communities of their love, care, resourcefulness and enterprise. The epidemic affects young and old alike. It injures those who fall ill and those who survive from a teenager who barters sexual favours for school fees to a grandmother who toils to care for a houseful of orphans.
The feminization of the epidemic brings into sharp relief the inequalities that shape people's behaviour and limit the options women have to protect themselves. Many women are very vulnerable to HIV even though they do not practice high-risk behaviour. In some places, marriage itself is a risk factor.