Prevent a danger of being infected with HIV among young people

(CPV) - Young people are an important labour force of society, and have a big impact on the development of the country and the future of the nation. Therefore, it is alarming when the trend of people infected with HIV in Vietnam is becoming younger.

According to the Vietnam Administration of AIDS Control (VAAC) under the Ministry of Health (MOH), Vietnam had a total of 149,635 HIV carriers in June 30, 2009. They mainly concentrated in Dien Bien, Son La, Thai Nguyen, Lang Son, Cao Bang, An Giang and Nghe An provinces. A serious concern is that HIV carriers in Vietnam are mainly among 20-39 years old (80.28%) and becoming younger.

Mr Nguyen Ba Thuy, Vice Minister of the MOH, said that the Vietnamese younger generation is living in a social environment which has many opportunities to develop and affirm themselves and enjoy the good condition of life due to the impact of the quick socio-economic development speed and application of modern technical science, especially the internet and international integration trend. Strong conflicts between long-standing traditional values in Vietnam and an open, modern life style entice young people, especially those who lack living skills, family support and a sustainable education environment, have to encounter a lot of dangers, including HIV.

Young people have a high demand of sexual appetite, while lacking knowledge and living skills. Thus it is easy for them to have unsafe sex and be infected with HIV/AIDS. Hanoi Medical University has conducted a research in 7 provinces about the danger of being infected with HIV/AIDS in young people, aged 15-24 years olds, which shows that the rate of young people having sex with prostitute and using condoms regularly accounts for 30-60%.

These days, more than half of new HIV infections are young people aged 15-24 years old. Young people are the centre of the epidemic and they are also the biggest hope in the struggle against the disease. Therefore, they need to be equipped with the full knowledge of HIV including skills and measures against the disease and how to access necessary healthcare services. Leaders need to ensure that young people receive full information and are trained regularly in HIV/AIDS prevention and control.

To prevent HIV/AIDS transmission among young people, Dr Mai Xuan Phuong, from the VAAC, said that lack of knowledge and living skills encourage young people have unsafe sex, leading to being infected with HIV/AIDS. In order to prevent HIV/AIDS, the best way is strengthen communicative education information, especially communication to change behaviour. To do that, State management agencies, business owners and employers need to have methods to improve knowledge about HIV/AIDS for young people and create condition for them to take part in movements which communicate HIV/AIDS prevention and control.

“Talking with students to discover problems of young people and then provide them with knowledge of HIV/ADS is a lively and effective method. At present, some universities have clubs communicating reproductive health, and social evils prevention. It is close and friendly when students advise other students how to protect themselves from the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” said Dr Khuat Thu Hong, director of the Institute for Social Development Studies (ISDS).

However Ms Nguyen Thi An, former Vice Director of the Hanoi Center for AIDS Control, said that we should consider the education program o­n sex and reproductive health in high school. Because basically, few parents talk with their children about sex, sexual appetite, and sexually-transmitted diseases”.