continues to experience increasing poverty and economic,
social and political difficulties as well as an ongoing
reduction in its population of over 5 million people.
A confluence of factors has contributed to problems
among youth in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia
region. Unemployment and economic insecurity are common.
Traditional social and cultural norms have eroded,
and new common values are not yet firmly entrenched.
The economic and psychological aftermath of recent
wars in the region have left their mark on young people
in many countries, especially Georgia.
The two most acute SRH problems facing young people
are STIs and unwanted pregnancies. Sexual activity
generally begins at an earlier age than in the past,
but young people have inadequate information about
safe sex and contraception. Among 15-19 year-old-women,
the fertility rate exceeds 50 births per thousand.
Unprecedented numbers of young people terminate their
secondary schooling, and drug use is steadily becoming
a more frequent feature of secondary school life.
Although Georgia faces many challenges, the Government
has identified areas of concern for future strategies
including: decreasing regional, financial, and gender
imbalances to access RH services; upgrading skills
and medical facilities to increase quality of services;
addressing the controversy related to free HIV testing
to high-risk population groups only; and strengthening
youth friendly RH information and services.
UNFPA supported small-scale activities related
to HIV/AIDS awareness creation through an umbrella
project. Some of the activities covered include addressing
trafficking, and violence against women and commercial
sex workers (CSWs) through outreach.
In the area of young people and HIV prevention,
currently Population Services International (PSI)
uses branded and generic mass media and interpersonal
communications to reach thousands of young people
across Georgia. PSI launched the youth condom brand “Favorite” in
2001. Radio, print, and television ads supported
the launch and successfully established the brand
as the affordable, quality condom for young people.
Over 50,000 young people have attended concerts
in Tbilisi and Batumi featuring popular entertainers
delivering safer sex messages. Radio talk shows featuring “sexologists” and
guest celebrities educate young Georgian listeners
about unsafe behaviors and how to protect themselves
against sexually transmitted diseases and unintended
pregnancies. Educational materials are distributed
in pharmacies, family planning offices, reproductive
health centres, and at youth-oriented events and
locations, such as concerts and schools. UNFPA has
been supporting the social marketing campaign in
Georgia since 2002.