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Dili, Timor-Leste -Last Monday, the 8/04/2019, UNFPA held a training for peer educators from the border municipalities of Covalima, Bobonaro and RAEOA. This training marks the beginning of UNFPA’s work with key populations in Timor-Leste. In Timor-Leste, UNFPA works in collaboration with the HIV department of the Ministry of Health and the NGO Estrela+.


“What I would like to see change in my community is the increase in awareness regarding HIV/AIDS and the means of prevention, especially through the socialization of condom use,” said Arnaldo Soares a peer educator from Bobonaro.  


These peer educators will work in the field to increase comprehensive knowledge on HIV prevention, including knowledge on the effective means of prevention; increasing the demand for HIV testing; reducing risky behaviours; and to ensure that all HIV positive people have access to timely anti-retroviral treatment. 


Relevant studies done in Timor-Leste highlighted that key populations have a higher prevalence of STIs and HIV when compared to the general population. More precisely it is 1.5% among sex workers, and 1.3% among MSM. The border districts of Maliana and Bobonaro present higher rates, which is why UNFPA is focusing its efforts there.


“The main challenge is that there is a serious lack of information regarding STI’s and HIV/AIDS, additionally it is difficult to share information with young people," said Arnaldo.


According to UNAIDS data, key populations remain among the most vulnerable to HIV. with 90% of new HIV infections in central Asia, Europe, North America, the Middle East and North Africa in 2014 being among people from key populations and their sexual partners, who accounted for 45% of new HIV infections worldwide in 2015.


UNFPA Timor-Leste is investing in strengthening the capacity of networks of key populations and allowing them to meaningfully participate in all aspects of HIV and sexual and reproductive health policy, programme development and implementation. In doing so, UNFPA aims to increase awareness regarding STIs and HIV prevention in Timor-Leste, which will lead to positive behavior change in the communities.  



UNFPA is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. UNFPA reaches millions of women and young people in 155 countries and territories, including Timor-Leste.