STUDY BY “YOUTH CONDUCTING POLITICAL INCIDENCE” IN PERU

  • June 28, 2011
  • News

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The growing need for HIV preventive education aimed at adolescents is highlighted in a new survey of 7 Peruvian high schools conducted by youth “Multiplying Agents” graduated from AID FOR AIDS International’s “Cuanto Sabes de VIH y Sida” in Peru.
The study analyzed the quality and quantity of information about HIV and AIDS that is provided to public school teenagers and found major gaps, both in the information itself and the training of health educators.
“We wanted to get a handle on how the nation is coping with the spread of HIV among young people,” explained Enrique Chavez, director of AFAI’s Advocacy Department. “What we found from the response of our survey sample was that while there is more openness and willingness to address the problem, there are still many segments in society that show a lot of resistance to necessary changes.”
Chavez says what is most needed is the passage of laws to mandate the inclusion of HIV preventive education and life skills training in the country’s secondary schools.
AFAI currently runs a program in Peru, “Jovenes Haciendo Incidencia Politica” (Youth Conducting Political Incidence), which trains “Cuanto Sabes?” graduates in how to advocate for progressive socio-political policies. However, notes Chavez, the future success of that program will depend upon the ability of the public school system to turn out graduates fluent in HIV/AIDS issues.
“We respect the efforts of Peruvian educators and political leaders to foster change,” concludes Chavez. “We just don’t believe the change is coming fast enough to keep pace with rising HIV infection rates.”