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


Throughout the world today young people are one of the groups most vulnerable to the AIDS epidemic. At present, it is estimated that about half of all new infections with HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) occur in young people under 25 years old. It has, therefore, become increasingly apparent that this group is the most important target in HIV/AIDS prevention programmes.

But despite their vulnerability, young people are also a force for fighting the epidemic. When provided with the appropriate information and necessary life skills, young people show a remarkable capacity to adopt safer behaviour. They are also highly motivated and enthusiastic about participating in programmes that give them responsibility for themselves and their peers. Respect for their rights and partnership with adults have proven to be a key for success in setting up health promotion programmes aimed at young people. This manual has been developed to give guidelines and ideas for action.

Who is this manual for?

For you, young people working with groups of your own age, to help you set up an effective HIV/AIDS health promotion programme.

However, the manual is also useful for anyone working with young people to improve their health and life skills.

What is the purpose of the manual?

The different sections of this manual are designed to:

provide information about HIV/AIDS and the impact of the epidemic;

help you deal with your own worries and concerns related to HIV/AIDS and other STD, and prepare your role as an educator;

suggest a method for planning and evaluating an HIV/STD health promotion programme for your youth group;

present activities you can try with young people to help them make healthier and safer life choices; and

give ideas for community projects related to HIV/STD health promotion that can be carried out by young people in your group and/or community.

How should you use this manual?

The manual must be considered as a generic one. It offers a resource package for educational activities with young people. But young people are not a homogenous group the way they live varies according to their socio-economic class, their level of education, their religious background, their place of residence, etc. These activities may not all be suitable for the youth group you work with or for your culture. The purpose is to make your choice among them and if necessary adapt them, for example, by rewriting a case study and using local names or local situations. If you wish to translate sections of this manual into your local language, you are most welcome to do so.

The educational activities are aimed at young people in their mid-teens and older. The material can be used if you work with young people aged 15 or under, but it will need careful review and adaptation.

The manual contains scientific terms and some words you may not be familiar with. When used for the first time in the text, these terms are written in italic, which means you can find an explanation in the glossary on page 173, unless the term is explained immediately in the text.