Young people in Kosovo need more information on HIV/AIDS
Prishtine/Pristina, October 30, 2008
Young people in Kosovo do not have sufficient information how to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS infection, reveals a study on Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Behaviour (KAPB) conducted with young people aged 15 to 24.
The study reveals that more than half of the respondents 53 % were not aware of the difference between the HIV and AIDS terms. The HIV prevention level of knowledge is reflected as low with only 18 % of males and 17 % of females correctly answering all questions. Young males were more likely than females to know the two main ways of preventing the sexual transmission of HIV: having sexual intercourse with only one faithful uninfected partner and by using a condom every time they have sex. Just over a half, 55 % of sexually active young people reported having used a condom the last time they had sexual intercourse. Young people express considerable amount of stigma with only 38 % answering that they would accept to be in the same class with an infected person.
Mr. Robert Fuderich, Acting UN Development Coordinator for Kosovo, said ‘More than half of the population in Kosovo is younger than 25 year old. Although the actual prevalence of the disease is low, the study shows that the risk amongst this group is relatively high. Preventive measures and services should be in place in schools, health centres and through the mass media, so that all girls and boys are informed but also involved in the design of those interventions. Kosovo society cannot afford that the majority of its population has insufficient knowledge about the HIV/AIDS. We have learned from other countries that unless we all put our efforts together and prevent the spread of the disease, it can simply become too late.’
The study was initiated based on the priorities of the Kosovo AIDS Committee and it was conducted with the financial and technical support of UNAIDS, UNICEF and other members of the Kosovo UN Team on AIDS.
The study provides the necessary evidence and recommendations for key decision makers in Kosovo to develop appropriate HIV prevention strategies for and with young Kosovans.
The main recommendations include: incorporation of HIV/AIDS education in the school curriculum; strengthening and expanding life skills based education for young people; awareness raising activities through mass media, schools, health centres; establishment of pilot youth friendly services; as well as better cooperation between policy makers in relevant Ministries.