NYKS Scrutinizing Role of Youth in HIV Campaigns

Around 150 rural youth ambassadors from ten states gathered at the National Integration Camp here on Sunday to share their experiences of creating awareness on HIV/AIDS among other children.

The programme is an initiative of Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, under the Ministry of Sports and Youth Welfare , Government of India. On this occasion they organized Youth parliament on Sexual Reproductive Health, STI and HIV and AIDS. These children are peer educators – children who themselves learn how HIV/AIDS transmitted and what are the ways to prevent it – and then share that knowledge with other children. They also shared their experience with Dr. Avnish Jolly Resource Person, NYKS on Adolescent and Mr. Umesh Baurai, Project Coordinator, FXB India Suraksha.

The workshop looked at training these Young Ambassadors in four important aspects of the awareness project – how to better their knowledge, how to better their communication with other children, what are the difficulties in teaching other children about HIV/AIDS and how to overcome them. Now under the National policy the resource team stressed upon ABC and step wise and advocates accordingly:

A – Abstinence
B – Be faithful to your partner
C – Use Condom

Dr. Avnish Jolly Resource Person, NYKS shared that the training of these children is part of Adolescent project that has been launched by NYKS in 63 districts of the country to check on the effectiveness of having teen and youth talk about HIV/AIDS to other peer group members and our idea is intervention by teen – as teen people may prefer to talk to and listen to other teenagers on HIV/AIDS problems. If we find it is effective, then we will have youngsters taking to HIV/AIDS awareness program across the country. We will make youth intervention in HIV/AIDS a national project.

He exhorted to involve themselves in institutions which hold reins of development in the field of economics, health and sustainable development.

The children, in the course of the program, create Teen Clubs that all children can join to feel safe and secure in case they are afflicted by HIV/AIDS. Given the stigma, children look towards social groups to share their anxieties and the clubs work towards offering protection. The decision to get them to work in particular districts was based on assessment of HIV/AIDS prevalence – the highest prevalence districts got a preference and participate in Red Ribbon Express.

Youth delegates debated issues of health and education, with an emphasis on the ever-growing threat of HIV/AIDS and related orphan hood.

Mr. Umesh Baurai said we can’t hide from children such things when they are seeing it all on television. We can’t be hypocritical and should not forget that 15 per cent are teenage pregnancies and shared FXB India has made recent gains in combating AIDS, and infection rates are down. Still, the country has struggled to care for the growing number of children who have lost one or both parents to the disease. Umesh also talked about reproductive rights and stressed upon the point with the correct knowledge of reproductive rights o can improve health system related to reproductive and sexual health issue. He cited the several cases through which Supreme Court of India under the preview of Reproductive Rights has given direction to state and union Government to improve issues related to reproduction and sexual health.

During the question answer session Youth Ambassadors talked about greater involvement of youth in promoting Adolescent Health education for combating HIV/AIDS and Child Abuse. Youth also express their worry regarding separation of HIV/AIDS on economy of the country and its social fabrics. Through a small role play they depict the role of Panchayat and Sarpanch to reduce stigma and discrimination against People living with HIV/AIDS.

The India Post Team

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