What we should know about youth on World Aids Day

Thursday November 30 2017

As we mark World Aids Day today, statistics reveal that 51 per cent of new HIV infections are among young people aged between 15-24 years.

This is according to a report by the National Aids Control Council.

But despite the national HIV prevalence rate going down, our focus should now shift to our youthful population.

Many young people lack basic knowledge on their sexual reproductive health and rights. They fear getting tested to know their HIV status.

It is estimated that one in five youths had sexual intercourse before the age of 15. Use of a condom during the first-time sex among young women and men aged 15-24 years stands at 67 per cent for girls and 58 per cent for boys.

This is a clear illustration that many youth still engage in risky sexual behaviours.

What is alarming is that as the sexual relationship grows, 89 per cent of young women are reported to abandon the use of condoms with a partner of unknown status.

This situation can be reversed by informing and educating young people consistently and providing access to reproductive health and rights services.

Lastly, ending stigma will encourage more young people to get tested and adhere to medication.

Our message to the youth is that they should be bold and plan their lives, which starts with knowing their HIV status.
JIMMY OPOT, Nairobi.


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