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Commentary & Opinion
Young People Are "Only Long-Term Solution" to HIV/AIDS Epidemic, Opinion Piece Says

February 13, 2004

Young people "represent the hope of overcoming not only HIV/AIDS but also the ignorance and fear that perpetuate disease," Liza Barrie, a UNICEF expert on HIV/AIDS, writes in a Philadelphia Inquirer opinion piece. HIV "creeps silently" into the lives of 6,000 15- to 24-year-old people each day, Barrie says, adding that young people who are poor, illiterate or otherwise marginalized are also the "hardest hit." In addition, "far too many" of the one billion young people in the world do not know what HIV is or how it is transmitted. "In the absence of a vaccine or cure [for AIDS], young people embody the only long-term solution" to the disease, Barrie says, adding that the "course of the epidemic will be driven largely by the decisions that successive waves of young people make and maintain throughout their lives." Parents, adults and society as a whole have a responsibility to equip every young person with "what it takes to make the best and healthiest choices," Barrie concludes (Barrie, Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/13).

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