HIV/AIDS Prevention for Young People 2001–2005

Note: Pages in this section have been stored solely for archiving purposes. Information contained here refers to the 2001–2005 CPAP. Follow this link for current details about UNICEF programmes in Turkey.

Illustration © UNICEF Turkey 2004

A significantly high proportion of the Turkish population is under twenty-five and the average age of first sexual encounters is decreasing yearly.


With increased urbanisation in Turkey, young people - especially males - are becoming sexually active much earlier than before. Increased mobility and exposure to foreign lifestyles is leading to an erosion of traditional cultural values which in turn contributes to the decrease in the age of first sexual encounters. This is significant since over half of the country’s population is under twenty-five. The rising numbers of travellers abroad, an intensive influx of sex workers from other countries in the region and Turkey’s popularity as a tourist destination compound the problem.

Due to weaknesses in the data collection system, especially in the private sector, statistics on the incidence of HIV/AIDS infection in Turkey do not provide a clear picture of the extent of the problem. However, it would appear that the majority of infected cases contracted the disease at an early age through heterosexual contact.

A general lack of awareness of the risks of HIV/AIDS infection and of the necessary prevention methods puts large numbers of young people at risk. Adolescents seldom get appropriate instruction from their parents. Although related topics are included in the school curriculum, the content needs to be developed and instructors need to be trained since counselling services are insufficient and inadequately equipped.

The HIV/AIDS Prevention Project will raise awareness among young people in order to change their attitudes and behaviour. In doing so, the spread of this and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) will be inhibited in Turkey and an epidemic of HIV/AIDS will be avoided.

HIV/AIDS Prevention for Young People aims to:

  • raise awareness among young people on the prevention of HIV/AIDS infection and STDs;
  • change attitudes and behaviour among youth primarily through peer education;
  • develop and promote youth friendly health services;
  • develop and promote peer education.

HIV/AIDS Prevention will achieve this by:

  • raising awareness of HIV/AIDS and STDs among young people;
  • the promotion and expansion of youth friendly health services;
  • the promotion and development of peer education.

It is expected that the threat of a major HIV/AIDS epidemic will be reduced through the increased awareness of HIV/AIDS among youth and their acceptance of responsibility for prevention of infection.

download AIDS Awareness brochureRead A Word About AIDS -- our simple guide to protecting yourself and others against the killer HIV virus or download the print-ready version. [PDF 50KB]

For more information about AIDS in Turkey, or to find out how you can help people who are living with AIDS, visit the AIDS Savaşım Derneği website or write to them via email.

Read more about HIV/AIDS in Say Yes, Winter 2003.

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