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HIV & AIDS

HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention is essential to preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS and safeguard health and reproductive rights and developmental goals. Women with HIV/AIDS who have unintended pregnancies run the risk of transmitting the virus to their children. Improving access to condoms can reduce the number of infections acquired through sexual intercourse. Increasing contraception use among HIV-positive women through voluntary family planning services can avert almost 30 percent more cases of mother-to-child-transmission than anti-retrovirals alone.

Although Timor-Leste is considered to have a low HIV prevalence rate (0.2 per cent), there is a concentrated epidemic among key affected populations - sex workers (1.5 per cent) and their clients, men who have sex with men (1.3 per cent) and transgender (2.6 per cent). Timor-Leste faces specific vulnerabilities which may accelerate the transmission of HIV and sexually transmitted infections. 

These include high levels of population movement and social displacement (rural to urban and cross-border migration), high unemployment, low awareness of HIV and sexually transmitted infections and low condom use. Many young people are not equipped with the knowledge and life skills to manage sexually transmitted infections and HIV risk in an increasingly challenging environment. Comprehensive knowledge on HIV among youth is much lower in the poorest (11 per cent) than in the richest (35 per cent) wealth quintiles.