UNICEF Peer Education Program Increasing HIV/AIDS Awareness in Yemen, Official Says
A UNICEF training program that provides teenagers in Yemen with information about HIV/AIDS has helped increase awareness about the disease, Nasim ur-Rehman, a UNICEF communication officer, said recently, IRIN/PlusNews reports. According to ur-Rehman, the program has "blossomed" into a "truly national effort," which has initiated a "national debate and openness" about HIV/AIDS.
The program teaches youth about HIV transmission, prevention and care -- as well as the rights of people living with the disease -- in an effort to address denial, stigma and discrimination. The program was launched in the southern province of Aden in 2005 and has since been established in Sanaa, Taiz and al-Hudeidah, IRIN/PlusNews reports. Mulhem Saif, a consultant for the program, said there are 44,788 peer educators in targeted areas, including secondary schools, and that the focus has shifted to marginalized groups, such as refugees. According to Saif, more than 6,000 people were provided with HIV/AIDS education in military camps in Aden during the first three months of this year. He added that peer educators also target young people in social care centers, prisons and orphanages (IRIN/PlusNews, 4/24).