SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, are signing an agreement today with the Salvadoran Ministry of Defence that will help bring education in the areas of sexual and reproductive health and HIV/AIDS prevention to military personnel in the Central American nation.
The $220,000 project is financed jointly by the Salvadorian Armed Forces, UNAIDS, and UNFPA. It aims at educating officers and soldiers at all levels in the country’s armed forces—a total of about 10,000 people—over the coming two years.
The project was launched during the Third Latin American and Caribbean Forum on Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV/AIDS, a regional meeting that is taking place in San Salvador this week.
“In designing the project, UNFPA has drawn on its experience from helping prevent the spread of HIV within armed forces and national police in more than a dozen countries in Latin America and the Caribbean,” said UNFPA’s Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Marisela Padron.
The new project will help establish a policy on HIV/AIDS in El Salvador’s armed forces, raise the level of knowledge, as well as improve attitudes and practices in the areas of sexual and reproductive health and HIV/AIDS prevention among armed forces personnel. The project will also help educate health workers, and will establish a committee for the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS (know by its Spanish-language acronym, COPRECOS), which will strengthen the national response capacity to the pandemic. UNFPA has already helped establish such committees in many countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. A regional meeting of these committees is also taking place in San Salvador this week.
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