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Action with Youth - HIV/AIDS and STD: A Training Manual for Young People -Foreword

Since the HIV/AIDS pandemic began in the early 1980s, it has been spreading rapidly in many developing countries. Today, the virus’s impact on health and socio-economic development is highly visible in these countries, and their attempts to prevent and control the spread of HIV/AIDS have so far met with little success. In fact, the prevalence of HIV infection among young adults in developing countries has increased at an alarming rate.

AIDS is, however, a preventable disease and it is now the time to work together to intensify and expand the measures already at our disposal to halt its spread. And one of the most important ways is to give young people everywhere the possibility to learn about how to prevent the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and teach them to share their knowledge with their peers. In many parts of the world, young people have already initiated actions geared towards fighting the virus. But much more needs to be done to get people to change their attitude and their behaviour and adopt a safer lifestyle.

Most young people are very responsive to changing their behaviour if the problem is presented to them by their peers, who have been given the necessary guidance and tools, and in an environment – language, place, etc. – in which they feel comfortable. We very much hope that this manual will become an indispensable tool for all programmes aimed at educating young people about the risks and dangers of HIV/STD infections.

Many organizations around the world used the first edition of this manual. Their feedback proved its value as a tool for youth-peer education programmes. The second edition is an updated and expanded version, incorporating many new topics and life skills highly relevant to the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and other STD. I hope that this revised training manual will give young people the means to help each other lead healthier and safer lives.

Didier J. Cherpitel
Secretary General
International Federation
of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies