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The Netherlands and UNICEF target young people with education on HIV prevention

In Indonesia, every day 7 children (0-18 years) are estimated to be newly infected with HIV.
Every hour, 1 young person between 15-24 years of age becomes newly infected.

JAKARTA, 15 December, 2008 - Recognising the importance of education in the fight against HIV/AIDS, the Government of the Netherlands has provided a grant of over US$ 4.6 million to the Government of Indonesia and UNICEF’s Cooperation Programme for 2006-2009.

The funds support efforts in scaling-up HIV/AIDS prevention through life skills education and peer education among young people in Papua and West Papua provinces. This initiative aims at ensuring that HIV prevention education is part of the education sector response, which means that children and young people in-school and out-of-school will have access to life skills-based HIV prevention education.

Every day, in Indonesia, 7 children (0-18 years) are estimated to be newly infected with HIV. Every hour, 1 young person
between 15-24 years of age becomes newly infected.

“HIV/AIDS have a profound impact on the lives of children and young people.Their very survival and rights to health, education and protection are at stake. As the HIV epidemic in Indonesia worsens, more children are being affected each day, particularly in the provinces of Papua and West Papua” said Dr. Gianfranco Rotigliano, UNICEF Representative in Indonesia.

It is estimated that there are approximately 193,000 people currently living with HIV in Indonesia - about 0.16 per cent of the total population. However, this low general incidence masks the disease’s epidemic status within high-risk communities, particularly among Intravenous Drug Users (IDUs), sex workers and men who have sex with men. More than half of all IDUs are now believed to be infected with HIV, and up to 20 per cent of female sex workers; and the majority are young people between 15-24 years old and have completed elementary and secondary schooling.

At the same time, young people in schools also engage in behaviours that put them at high risk of contracting HIV. Therefore, while programmes targeting the most-at-risk young people are a priority, HIV education in schools is also a strategic response to prevention among young people.

While most intervention efforts are focused on high risk communities, the Government of Indonesia-UNICEF partnership is targeting young people in-school and out-of-school with messages and education about HIV prevention. By teaching young people about safe sex before they become sexually active, helping them protect themselves through access to condoms and sexual health screening, and breaking down taboos surrounding the disease, the programme aims to protect the current generation of young people from HIV and enlist their help in protecting future generations. Drawing upon evidence and the experiences of previous years, the programme is working to institutionalize HIV prevention education within existing provincial and district education structures.

“HIV and AIDS mainstreaming in the education sector ensures that addressing HIV and AIDS is not an add-on or a separate activity but an integral part of education sector policies, strategies and actions. There is a high level of commitment with the provincial authorities for a comprehensive reponse of the education sector to HIV and AIDS and we think it is very important to support this process at this crucial time”, said Arnold van der Zanden, First Secretary of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

For more information, please contact Sharifah Tahir, Chief of HIV/AIDS, 62 570 5816 ext 442 or Gonneke de Ridder, spokesperson Dutch Embassy.



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