Azerbaijan youth on the alert for HIV/AIDS

تم النشر: 8 مايو 2002 0:00 CET

To date, the number of HIV-positive people in Azerbaijan has been relatively low. But the Red Crescent recognizes that this does not guarantee the healthy future of the population. On the contrary, now more than ever, the Azerbaijan Red Crescent is promoting messages of awareness and prevention.

There are indications that HIV/AIDS could be on the rise in Azerbaijan, particularly as its neighbours have recorded significant increases in recent years. According to the National AIDS Control and Prevention Centre, a total of 393 HIV-positive cases have been recorded this year. But it is commonly accepted that because of poor research, real numbers are actually higher.

Given the fact that lack of awareness is one of the major risk factors for HIV transmission, particularly among teenagers who are the most affected by the pandemic worldwide, the Azerbaijan Red Crescent initiated a pilot HIV/AIDS peer education project in Baku.

Over 30 young volunteers were trained as Red Crescent peer educators. They in turn have been teaching HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness to other young people in schools and orphanages, to minimize the effects of the pandemic. Other activities to spread awareness have been an art competition and exhibition for Baku school children and dissemination of HIV/AIDS information on the streets of the capital.