Young People Preventing Spread of HIV Globally

Across the world, young adults are waiting longer to have sex, having fewer partners and increasingly using condoms.

Posted: 09/27/2012 04:03 PM EDT
Filed Under Africa, HIV, AIDS, Health News, youth

Young people across the world are leading the charge in the prevention of HIV, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Prevalence of HIV has decreased among young adults in 16 of 21 countries most affected by the disease.

Youth age 15-24 across the world, especially in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, are waiting longer to become sexually active, having fewer partners and increasingly using condoms.

Yet experts say the threat of gender inequalities, sexual violence, early marriage, intergenerational relationships and limited access to education make the need for more prevention efforts very strong. UNFPA reports:

Too many 15-24 year-olds do not know how to prevent HIV infections and hold misconceptions about how the virus is transmitted: As at 2010, only 34% of young people held comprehensive and correct knowledge about HIV. Furthermore, use of condoms among young people having sex with multiple partners is far from universal, especially among young women.

To reach more young people in the effort to eradicate HIV, the UNFPA suggests more evidence-based prevention strategies for young people, including the use of male and female condoms, comprehensive sexuality education, strategic use of mass media, the provision of youth-friendly health services for the prevention, treatment and care of HIV and harm-reduction programs for injecting drug use. 

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(Photo: Hoberman Collection/UIG via Getty Images)

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