Young people

Children affected by HIV/AIDS


Young people

© UNICEF Thailand/2010/Athit
A pharmacist shows different types of anti-viral medicine to a boy living with HIV at the one-stop service clinic at Srinagarind Hospital in Khon Kaen Province.

Young people are becoming sexually active at an earlier age and many are not using protection.  Significant numbers of young people also belong to especially high-risk groups, including injecting drug users, sex workers and men who have sex with men.  Some studies suggest that rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections are on the rise in this population group, despite declines in HIV prevalence in many other segments of the population. For continued reductions in HIV prevalence nationwide, the needs of young people will need to be more fully addressed.  

Our goals:

Provide easily accessible services that will help prevent the spread of HIV among young people, while simultaneously helping those young people already infected with HIV stay healthy, happy and connected to their communities.  Interventions should be appropriate and sensitive to specific populations, and access to HIV/AIDS prevention and care services should be scaled up for young people and other most-at-risk populations. UNICEF is committed to helping our partners deliver services that adequately meet the needs of young people and reach them wherever they are.

What we do:

1. We work with partners in civil society to better understand the risks young people face and what prevention and treatment services are available to them.

2. We work with leading healthcare providers and HIV/AIDS advocacy organizations to design programmes that better meet the clinical and psychosocial needs of young people with HIV. This includes the use of social media and other communication methods to promote improved adherence to medication regimens  and a greater sense of social belonging.

3. We promote approaches that better integrate HIV prevention with existing religious and cultural values, such as those of Muslim youth. Existing approaches to HIV prevention have generally not succeeded in Muslim communities due to core religious beliefs.   

4. We support HIV prevention activities targeting the most vulnerable young people, such as migrant street children. These services offer young people the opportunity to reconnect with their families and communities, give them tools to avoid HIV infection, and also link them with social services that help address the many needs they have. 



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