80% of the young people to learn how to prevent HIV/AIDS

More than 1000 teenagers and 300 adults from 7 districts of Moldova were trained at 10 summer schools for peer educators on HIV/AIDS prevention. The summer schools ran in Holercani, Falesti, Soroca, Molovata Noua, Ungheni. They are part of the “HIV/AIDS prevention for youth” programme implemented by the National Resource Centre for Youth, supported by UNICEF-Moldova, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the UN Population Fund. Teenagers and adults from 270 communities in Basarabeasca, Cahul, Criuleni, Falesti, Soroca, Ungheni districts and in Posta Veche district of Chisinau City benefited from the training in July and August. The last summer school for peer educators on HIV/AIDS prevention finished its activity in Ungheni on August 29. The schools covered the consequences of the risky behaviour, ways of HIV transmission, protection and prevention. Subsequently, the accumulated knowledge will be made accessible to the youth. Bogdan Nicolae Caragherghi, a teenager from Slobozia-Mare, Cahul district, admits that the summer school made him grasp the real importance of HIV/AIDS prevention through information. He reckons that all people should receive information from early stages on HIV virus and AIDS disease, and he is going to discuss on this matter with his friends and colleagues in a quite accessible language for the youth. Cristina Levodeanskaia from Iarova, Soroca district, thinks that people should be tolerant to HIV positives. We can work together, talk together, share the same plates, hug each other, and hold hands together. The HIV virus can be transmitted by 3 ways: by sexual contact, by infected blood and from HIV-infected mother to the baby. If every person would have sufficient knowledge of the HIV transmission ways, people will protect themselves and prevent it. Many studies show that the information spread by peer young people is more accessible, as they trust each other. Viorel Babii, coordinator of the “HIV/AIDS Prevention for Youth Programme” hopes that the information provided by the peer educators to the young people will determine the latter to refrain from premature sexual contacts, to resist the risky temptations, and to protect themselves from the danger of HIV infection. Statistics show that there are 3400 HIV-infected people in Moldova at present. More than a half of them are young people aged between 20 and 29. A UNICEF study done among the youth shows that only 8% of the Moldovan young people aged between 10 and 24 can name correctly the HIV transmission ways and prevention methods. On the other hand, the risky sexual practices are spread more among the young people with little knowledge in the field, especially among teenagers up to 14 years of age and young women in rural areas. Larisa Lazarescu-Spetetchi, UNICEF Programme coordinator for HIV and Vulnerable Adolescents, emphasizes that, besides the Ukraine and Russia, Moldova has the highest HIV-infection rate. The increase in HIV-infection, especially among the youth, is alarming and raises serious concerns. In order to improve the situation, it is necessary to spread the information on HIV/AIDS among the young people. The summer schools for peer educators on HIV/AIDS prevention are very efficient in this respect. The teenagers who were trained at the summer schools will pass the information to other young people, so by the end of 2007 the number of young people in the communities involved in this project, knowing how to protect themselves from the HIV virus, is expected to grow to 80 percent.

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