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Study on knowledge, viewpoints and skills of young people regarding HIV, drug addiction, smoking, alcoholism and sexual behaviour in Kyrgyzstan

The recent UN study was covered widely by the Kyrgyz mass media.

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan - February 24, 2009

UNICEF and UNODC presented a study in the UN House in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek today that reveals the knowledge, viewpoints and skills of young people regarding HIV, drug addiction, smoking, alcoholism and sexual behaviour.

“Adolescents need information – not just partial, but full information, particularly in the field of life skills, as reflected in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,” said Tim Schaffter, Representative of UNICEF in Kyrgyzstan, in presenting the study.

Study results include the findings that forty eight per cent of 5th to 7th grade schoolchildren in Kyrgyzstan have heard nothing about HIV/AIDS; every tenth parent interviewed in the country thinks that HIV is transmitted through kissing or wearing the same clothes and using the same household items; and just one out of every hundred schoolchildren interviewed was able to correctly identify the means of transmission of HIV.

With the support of UNICEF and UNODC, and in close cooperation with the Ministry of Education of the Kyrgyz Republic, the research among 5th to 11th grade schoolchildren studying at secondary schools, technical colleges and lyceums, and also parents and teachers (a total of 4210 people) was carried out in 2007-2008 by the SIAR Company. The main purpose of the research was to discover the sources and distribution channels of information about HIV/AIDS, drug addiction, smoking, alcoholism and sexual behavior of schoolchildren. Study also looked at the influence of school and the family on the health of adolescents and the development of safe behavior. The study further evaluated specialized programmes in schools and professional colleges.

“Our children know much more about these fields that we can imagine,” said Irina Karamushkina, Parliamentary Deputy and member of the Parliamentary Education and Youth Policy Committee, in her presentation.  “The issue is that no matter what type of information children receive from whatever sources, we need to create a system that will ensure that adolescents receive correct information and can prepare properly for adult life,” said the parliamentarian.

While the assessment shows that only few parents speaking to their children about risky behaviors, most of mothers and fathers would like teaches talk about it at schools.
The main conclusion of the research was that the education system in Kyrgyzstan today does not provide essential knowledge and skills on responsible and safe behavior.  In this connection, the study outlines a range of recommendations to better inform schoolchildren and prepare them for adult life.

In addition, the authors of the report believe that a lot more attention needs to be paid by both parents and teachers to teaching and informing young people, as this plays an important role in developing the attitude of adolescents to a healthy lifestyle.
For more information, please contact:

Olga Grebennikova, UNICEF Media Liaison Officer 
Tel: 61-12-11 (139), mobile phone: 0 (555) 71-26-99



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