| Strategy for Prevention
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Focusing prevention efforts in these three core
areas would not only reduce HIV infections
but also reduce STIs and help young people
in particular to avoid unwanted pregnancies.
1. Young people
Educating young people like these schoolgirls in Sierra Leone is the first step in preventing HIV/AIDS and promoting
lifelong reproductive health. UNFPA supports peer education projects and youth-friendly information and services.
Half of all new infections are among young
people. Most of them do not know they carry
the virus. Many millions more know nothing
or too little about HIV to protect themselves
UNFPA supports programmes that
promote healthy adolescent development and,
among sexually active young people, safer and
responsible sexual behaviour. Access to culturally
sensitive and youth-friendly reproductive
health information and services is a priority
for protection against STIs, including HIV,
and unwanted pregnancy.
- About one third of the people currently
living with HIV/AIDS are aged 15 to 24.
- Half of all 15-year-olds alive today in the
most-affected countries will eventually die
of the disease, even if infection rates drop
in the next few years. If infection rates
remain high, more than two thirds of
these young people will die of AIDS.
- Early marriage, sexual violence and the
search by adult men for HIV-free sexual
partners greatly increase the risk of infection
among adolescent girls and young
women in many communities.
UNFPA is working to create communication
messages that result in behaviour change.
The Fund also supports the creation of skillsbuilding
opportunities to help equip young
people with the knowledge, skills and attitudes
they need to deal with life challenges and
make responsible and appropriate choices
and decisions about their reproductive health.
To maximize results, the Fund also advocates
the involvement of young people in decisionmaking
about prevention activities.
- Young people are “partners for health” in
Namibia in a project that aims to create
regional youth offices, peer education
programmes and multi-purpose youth
resource centres offering youth-friendly
sexual and reproductive health services.
Gender concerns and HIV prevention
are high priorities in the project, which
also aims to mobilize community support
and supply condoms to sexually active
- In China, secondary school teachers and
administrators in 15 counties participated
in advocacy seminars designed to raise
awareness about the need to educate young
people about HIV/AIDS prevention and
other reproductive health issues.
- Development of an interactive computer
game for ages 11 to 14 is underway in
Estonia. The role-playing game challenges
young people to make responsible decisions
about sexual behaviour. Once tested,
the game will be distributed to all schools
in Estonia and made available online to
students and teachers.
- Students at 17 universities in India are
taking advantage of online and telephone
counselling for HIV/AIDS and other
sexual and reproductive health issues.
Counsellors have been trained to provide
telephone and online AIDS counselling.
Information about sexuality does not encourage
promiscuity. Many studies and long experience
show that the opposite is true. Young
people who are armed with information and
skills, and who have access to counselling
and services, are more likely than their uninformed
peers to abstain from sex.
more responsible in their sexual behaviour,
and they are less likely to fall victim to STIs,
including HIV, or unwanted pregnancy.
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