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HOME: POPULATION ISSUES: PREVENTING HIV INFECTION: Global Youth Partners
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India

Youth Partner

Name: Arindam “Babi” Roy
Age: 19
Nationality: Indian
Affiliated Organization:

Health Institute for Mother and Child (MAMTA)

Arindam “Babi” Roy was declared by MAMTA as an “Ambassador for Family Life Education” after winning an essay writing competition. The essay was titled “As a teenager, I have a right to sexuality education”.

He then attended a workshop, which addressed various issues among the youth of today, such as STIs, HIV/AIDS and unplanned pregnancies. He is currently working as a voluntary member for MAMTA to spread the message of awareness about HIV/AIDS.

Arindam believes that everyone has a right to sexual education and that anything is possible if you try. Arindam is an optimist who enjoys helping others, reading, and going to the movies.

 

UNFPA in India

In India, the initial cases of AIDS were reported among commercial sex workers in Mumbai and Chennai and injecting drug users in the northeastern state of Manipur. Although the HIV prevalence rate is low (0.8 per cent), the overall number people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) is high and is estimated to be 5.1 million. Young Indian women are particularly at risk because of the tradition of early marriage and powerlessness to ensure their male partner’s monogamy or to negotiate the use of condoms.

The national response to addressing HIV/AIDS includes providing prevention education for 90 percent of schools and colleges, establishing voluntary testing and counselling centres, reducing transmission through blood to less than 1 per cent, scaling up prevention of mother-to-child transmission activities, and providing free anti-retroviral therapy to all people living with HIV and AIDS.

The convergence of different sectors and involvement of civil society and NGOs has been recognised by the Government as crucial for meeting the diverse needs of adolescents and young people. Electronic and print media have created general information, though there is an opportunity for playing a more positive role in eradicating stigma and discrimination against PLWHA, and providing them with treatment and care.

Adolescence/ Population Education including HIV/AIDS education has been supported by UNFPA through a partnership with the Ministry of Human Resource Development. The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports will be a partner to reach adolescents and young people through NGOs and volunteers of the National Service Scheme (NSS) and Nehru Yuva Kendras (NYKs).

Several strategies are being used to reach young people. These include advocacy with policy makers for creating an enabling environment for young people to avail of services; capacity building of teachers, facilitators and peer educators to provide information and building life skills, integrating HIV prevention into the curriculum and through co-curricular activities; health awareness camps, counselling, telephone help lines, community based adolescent centres, and networking of NGOs working for adolescent skill building.

Telephone help lines have been established for counselling. In the schools, the “Question Box” method has been quite popular and teachers have been trained to answer queries from students. Experts on RH are sometimes invited to schools to answer students’ questions. Integrating HIV/AIDS education in vocational training and literacy programmes and using peer education strategy have been successful in reaching out-of-school adolescents. Adolescent Melas (fairs) in which adolescents themselves actively participated in all stages have created awareness while building communication skills of the peer educators.

Sources: Indian National AIDS Control Organization, www.naco.nic.in
  State of World Population Report, http://www.unfpa.org/swp/
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