in Mozambique is spreading very rapidly and its impact
is devastating. About 350 persons are infected per day
and 45% of infections occur among Mozambicans under 24
years of age.
The youth population is estimated at 6 million and
about 80% of female youth initiate their sexual life
at the ages of 15-19 years. Consequently, 60% of girls
in the 15-19 age group are either pregnant with their
first child or are already mothers. Infection rates among
the 15-19 years are much higher among young girls (16%)
than among boys (9%).
The Government of Mozambique has adopted policy measures
for the prevention, protection and care of HIV/AIDS.
The National AIDS Council is the coordinating body of
the national government strategies. The process of translating
policy to action at the local level has been rather slow.
Meantime, the spread of HIV along the major economic
corridors is increasing drastically.
In 1999, with the support of UNFPA, the Government
adopted an integrated strategy to provide information,
communication and education to adolescents. The main
goal is to adopt and implement polices and programmes
at the central and local levels that improve the knowledge,
skills, behaviour and practices of sexual and reproductive
health of youth. The approach involves three ministries:
Youth & Sports, Education and Health. Civil society,
NGO’s and youth associations are also partners.
The Ministry of Education focuses on youth in schools,
the Ministry of Youth conducts out-of-school interventions,
and the Ministry of Health provides the necessary framework
for youth-friendly clinics.
UNFPA assists the Government to attain the national
goals in the field of reproductive health. UNFPA also
co-funded a national survey in 2001, on the information,
knowledge and behavior of youth on issues of sexual and
reproductive health. Useful information was gathered
enabling effective planning and definition of specific
strategies to address the needs of youth
The experiences with youth friendly clinics in the capital
city and Gaza province have been very successful. Increasingly,
youth are seeking professional counseling and advice for
their sexual reproductive health. Furthermore, HIV
testing facilities are working to encourage youth to use
their services. Services for youth are becoming comprehensive
and new avenues are being explored to assist youth victims
of sexual abuse.