XVIII International AIDS Conference


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Reducing youth vulnerability to HIV and STIs through the use of satellite table activities and youth friendly centres in Guyana

N. Carter, S. Khan, M. Paltoo

Ministry of Health, Guyana, Adolescent & Young Adult Health & Wellness Unit, Georgetown, Guyana

Issues: Young people remain at the center of the AIDS epidemic in terms of rates of infection, exposure, impact, and potential for change. The most recent concluded ANC HIV Seroprevalence Survey of 2006 in Guyana showed the HIV prevalence for the age 15-24 group is 1.0 percent.
However, many still lack knowledge about how to prevent HIV infection. Available evidence suggests that when young people are provided with correct information about preventing HIV, they are likely to adopt safer behaviours that reduce their vulnerability. According to UNFPA, “targeted education has led to delayed sexual debut and increased use of condoms resulting in a decrease in HIV prevalence in young people".
Description: A satellite table activity is an information booth set up in schools, communities and youth friendly centres where trained peer educators and nurses share health-related information with youths. This is usually conducted twice per month by sixty peer educators through role plays and one-on-one discussion sessions in Region 10, one region of Guyana. The overall objectives are to create awareness of youth friendly centres and increase access to STI prevention services, including HIV, as well as unwanted pregnancies.
Lessons learned: Satellite table activities have successfully provided health information to youths in a non-judgmental manner. Young people are translating knowledge to behaviour change by accessing and using condoms which is reflected in a steady increase in the access to youth friendly health centres. The targeted population is now initiating dialogues regarding their health through mass media including mobile messaging and telephone conversations.
Next steps: Satellite table activities would be expanded to hinterland regions and additional peer educators and health care workers would be trained to meet the growing demand for this service. This activity would also be documented as a best practice for replication.

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