October 19, 2007

Statistics paint bleak HIV/AIDS picture

A two-year survey on sexual behaviour among youth in St. Vincent and the Grenadines has concluded that despite the knowledge and information circulating on HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), most persons are still not taking the necessary precautions to avoid infections.{{more}}

The survey, conducted between 2005 and 2006, by the OECS Behavioral Surveillance Survey, interviewed persons between the ages 10 to 49 years – the most vulnerable when it comes to contracting HIV/AIDS and STIs.

The information was disseminated by Theresa Daniel, communications specialist in the National AIDS Secretariat, at a National Youth Conference last Wednesday, October 17th at the Peace Memorial Hall.

Some of the findings showed that among other things, that there is a huge gap between knowledge and prevention.

According to the survey, most of those questioned are aware of HIV, its causes and means of prevention, but when it came to sexual behaviour most of the youth were not taking the necessary precaution.

The survey also showed that females are more vulnerable than males to contracting HIV/STI, and that more men are voluntarily getting tested.

One glimmer of hope, according to the survey’s conclusion, is that the youth at school , who reported to be virgins, can still be influenced into adopting positive sexual behaviour.

The conference was organized by the youth department as part of Youth Month, and heard addresses from Youth Officer Carlos Williams and Minister of Youth, Sport and Tourism Glen Beache. (JJ)