Adolescent and Youth Health

Globally, over 2.1 million adolescents aged 10–19 and 5 million young people aged 15–24 are living with HIV. As a result of greater availability of antiretroviral (ARV) therapy, many infants born with HIV can now survive into adolescence.

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During war and armed conflict the vulnerability of children and adolescents increases, particularly cwhere their sexual and reproductive health rights and needs are concerned. Responding to these rights and needs requires a very specific approach.

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Education and training can play a vital role in the fight against HIV/AIDS. They can inform and empower children and youth and thereby have a direct impact on the evolution of the epidemic. Education and training can as well have an impact on society, by changing social norms, fighting stigma and discrimination or triggering economic development and thereby have an indirect impact on the evolution of HIV/AIDS. At the same time, the already under resourced and overcharged education systems in sub-Saharan Africa are also affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

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A photo exhibition on teenage pregnancies in Kinshasa aimed at sensitizing Belgian parlementarians and the general public on problems related to sexual and reproductive health and visualises the consequences of a lack of the implementation of sexual and reproductive rights.

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During the last few years many governments and organisations have been financing and implementing HIV/AIDS prevention projects in sub-Sahara Africa. One of the methods used in HIV prevention that has known a steep upsurge is peer education. The Rwandan Red Cross, with the support of the Belgian Red Cross, has used this methods in its programmes in Rwanda. Because of the succes, the Red Cross aims to scale-up its programme. In that context, research is needed to study the critical success or failure factors of this method.

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