Armenian AIDS Commission Approves HIV/AIDS Prevention Program Targeting Teenagers, Young People, Official Says
The Armenian Country Coordination Commission on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Issues has approved an HIV/AIDS prevention program for 2007 through 2011 targeting teenagers and young people, Samvel Grigoryan, director of the country's National Center for AIDS Prevention, said recently, ARKA News Agency reports. The country by the end of last year recorded 429 HIV/AIDS cases, 74.4% of which occurred among people ages 29 to 39, and 14.5% of which occurred among people ages 10 to 24, according to ARKA News Agency. Of the recorded cases, 52% occurred through injection drug use and 40.3% through heterosexual sex, and there were three cases of mother-to-child HIV transmission (ARKA News Agency, 2/1). According to a report conducted by a multidisciplinary team with support from UNAIDS, UNICEF and NCAP, prevention programs targeting teenagers and young people are essential to combat the spread of HIV in Armenia, a UNICEF release reports. The report found that 30% of young commercial sex workers, 40% of young injection drug users and less than 50% of young men who have sex with men have a clear understanding of how HIV is transmitted and prevented. The report also found that only 12% of adolescents between ages 10 and 19 living in institutions have sufficient knowledge of HIV prevention. According to the release, Armenia has incorporated the report's recommendations into its national HIV/AIDS prevention program for 2007 to 2011. The recommendations include involving young people in HIV awareness campaigns and peer education programs; ensuring that schools address the disease openly and include it in life skills lessons; creating accessible youth-friendly health care and advisory services; encouraging more inclusive attitudes towards HIV-positive people and those at high risk of transmission; and ensuring a strong gender focus in HIV/AIDS-related policies (UNICEF release, 1/30). According to Grigoryan, the draft program has been submitted to the Armenian government for final approval (ARKA News Agency, 2/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.