XVIII International AIDS Conference

Abstract

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Changing lives for young people in Grenada

S. Duncan

Young Women's Christian Association of Grenada, HIV and AIDS / Advocacy, St. George's, Grenada

Issues: In Grenada, there is a higher incidence of HIV infection in young girls ages 15-24years than their male counterparts, and 25-34 year olds account for the highestnumber of new infections. This is partly due to physiological and social factors, some of which include peer pressure and globalization which leave young people in a disadvantaged position in responding to HIV and AIDS.
Description: The YWCA of Grenada is actively working to decrease HIV infections among youngpeople. With a Team including six young persons, the project increases HIV literacyin young people, especially young women. Public awareness responses includediscussion with young people, distribution of materials including male and femalecondoms, condom demonstrations and Abstinence education, offering preventionmethods for young people at different stages of their development. Over 107 youngpersons have been reached. Pre-packaged kits containing IEC materials and femaleand male condoms are also distributed.
Lessons learned: Young Grenadians need education on basic facts about HIV and a range ofprevention and treatment options. More emphasis needs to be placed on educationprogrammes that include messages on stigma and discrimination. 'Knowledge ispower' and the power to protect oneself starts with HIV education. Many factors playa part in the spread of HIV among youth, including economic poverty and breakdownin family structure. A multi-faceted approach is needed to curve prevalence amongyoung people and should involve parents, government, civil society and the privatesector. Sexual education should start early and young people should be given skillson how to protect themselves.
Next steps: Expand this programme to primary, secondary and tertiary schools on the island of Grenada. The YWCA of Grenada hopes to extend its HIV and AIDS Skills to YWCAs in the region and abroad.


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