News

Young people in Timor-Leste demand more information on HIV prevention and transmission

10 December 2019

Dili, Timor-Leste

UNFPA marked ‘World Aids Day 2019’ with an interactive debate with young people on HIV prevention, organized in collaboration with local NGOs Estrela+ and YLDP – Youth Leadership Development Programme Timor-Leste.  

The event was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Health, the Office of the Prime-Minister, various CSOs and NGOs and over 100 students from different Universities and high schools.

 

“Young people are particularly vulnerable to HIV infection and that is why it is so important to discuss HIV prevention in this age group.” Dra. Domingas, Assistant Representative, UNFPA Timor-Leste.  

Young people remain among the most vulnerable population groups to HIV infection. In 2018, there were 3.9 million young people (aged 15-24) living with HIV in the world. Young people account for 33% of all new HIV infections worldwide, which is why UNFPA is focusing its efforts in this age group.

 

“Stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV is also very high in Timor-Leste. 74.6% of young women and 53.8% of young men have discriminatory attitudes towards PLWH. This makes it difficult for people to go and do an HIV test, and for people to continue on treatment”, said Dra. Domingas.

Young people in Timor-Leste have also a very low comprehensive knowledge on HIV, not knowing, for example, the most common routes of HIV transmission or that correct and consistent use of condoms is the most effective way to prevent HIV.

 

The debate covered topics such as prevention and transmission of HIV, the link between Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and HIV and the negative consequences of stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV.

During the group discussion, young people mentioned that lack of information, stigma and discrimination, fear and shame were the main constraints for them to access SRHR-HIV services, including HIV testing, and demanded government institutions to act on this, particularly by including Comprehensive Sexuality Education in the school curricula.     

The outcomes of the debate will be shared with different government institutions, UN and other stakeholders.

 

UNFPA Timor-Leste will continue to invest  in strengthening knowledge on HIV for young populations which will allow them to share correct and evidence-based  information to their friends and family, and become an advocate for a stigma free and healthy young population.

 

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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.