UNICEF Works With Guinea Bissau Youth Groups to Fight AIDS
April 29, 2009
UNICEF is tackling the spread of HIV/AIDS in Guinea Bissau by working with youth groups to raise awareness of the disease. Enhancing prevention is crucial in a country where only about 16 percent of youth say they know how to protect themselves from HIV, said Silvia Luciani, country coordinator for UNICEF.
A key challenge is the country's dire poverty. Guinea Bissau has the second-lowest rating on the UN's Human Development Index measuring life expectancy, education, and standard of living. Increasing poverty means more girls are drawn into prostitution, exploited by men for as little as $1, Luciani noted.
Another hurdle is the country's political instability. Last month, both the president and the army chief of staff were murdered.
"The government needs to be much more engaged in ensuring that all of the young people have access to the information, the skills, and the services to prevent HIV. This is a major challenge for this country. But it is a challenge that needs to be addressed immediately before it is too late," Luciani said.
Voice of America News
04.24.2009; Scott Stearns
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.