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

Youth Partner

Name: Diop “Gilles” Sileye Abdoul
Age: 24
Nationality: Mauritanian
Affiliated Organization:

Youth Association SOS PAIRS EDUCATEUR (SOS PE), Family Planning Association of Mozambique (AMODEFA)

 

Diop “Gilles” Sileye Abdoul has always had a great passion for his peers when it comes to health care issues and HIV prevention. So passionate actually that after participating in a STI and HIV/AIDS training course, together with friends, Diop decided to establish SOS PE, a local non-governmental organization.

Founded in 1999 in Nouakchott, SOS PE has grown both in its size and its experience in terms of administrative management, project planning, follow-up and evaluation associated to HIV prevention. SOS PE staff skills were reinforced by continuous training sessions and by technical and financial support guaranteed by international institutions and NGOs such as UNFPA, FLM, World Vision and FHI/ Ivory Coast. In September 2003, a new Youth Information Center has been set up after 5-year s of experience in social mobilization for health.

Diop dislikes arrogance and hypocrisy. He is very sociable. He loves reading books, listening to music and traveling. His role models are Francis Cabrel in music, and Michael Jordan in sports.

 

UNFPA in Mauritania

Although Mauritania’s prevalence rate is below 1 percent, the latest data on adolescents’ attitudes towards HIV and AIDS is alarming. Two thirds of young Mauritanian women do not know that HIV transmission can be prevented, and half of young men aged 15 to 24 years old who are sexually active have never used a condom. National policies only recently took into account the specific vulnerability and needs of adolescents regarding STIs and HIV/AIDS. Only as of the beginning of 2003 did the National Program for Reproductive Health define ARH as a priority, and the Ministry of Youth elaborated an action plan to fight against AIDS among the youth that is mainly funded by the World Bank.

UNFPA holds a central position in the fight against HIV/AIDS among youth in Mauritania. It provides technical assistance to national counterparts to elaborate national strategies and responses to the epidemic by helping to identify creative initiatives and build capacities at community level, and advocating to scale these initiatives up to the national level. UNFPA’s approach to stabilizing the epidemic among youth relies on targeting at-risk groups, among whom leaders are identified and trained on STIs, HIV/AIDS and interpersonal communication techniques. Following the training, the leaders are in charge of sensitizing their peers, and serve as resource persons for the distribution of condoms. The most motivated participants become counselors and refer young people to health centers for HIV testing and counseling and treatment for STIs. UNFPA Mauritania insists on the participation of youth in the production of their own communication programs, such as radio soap operas or youth magazines.

Since 2002, UNFPA’s technical and financial assistance has allowed a youth association called SOS Peer Educators to collaborate with an international NGO called FLM ( Fédération Luthérienne Mondiale) to contact networks of commercial sex workers in the two administrative and economic capital cities of the country. They have trained 120 young women as peer educators and set up an informal male and female condom procurement system. Among young commercial sex workers who volunteered to take the HIV test, 15 have been found HIV positive and are presently receiving medical and psychosocial care.
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