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July 06, 2020

Communal support is crucial in building an HIV-free generation

Youths, such as students, like trying and testing everything. That’s why, first drug use is more likely in the younger age groups. Teachers and parents should devote time and make efforts to ensure the well-being of youths as the rate of drug abuse is quite alarming in the present day and age.
The high rate of drug abuse has always been a problem, and the increase in the number of youngsters taking to drugs is especially worrying as it has had a detrimental effect on society.
We have been witnessing an increase in cases of HIV and AIDS due to drug use and other negative consequences related to health due to drug abuse.
Young people are particularly vulnerable to HIV: 15–24 year olds account for 50 per cent of new cases worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, 5,000-6,000 youths are being diagnosed with HIV or AIDS every day — most of them in developing countries.
In Myanmar, an estimated 237,000 people were living with HIV in 2018, and 0.57 per cent of them had contracted AIDS.
There were 29,000 newly infected cases in 2000 at the recorded rate, and the number declined to 10,000 in 2018.
The figures also showed that the newly infected patients were mainly people who injected drugs (PWIDs), women sex workers, or men who had sexual contact with other men. The highest infection rates were seen in Kachin State, northern Shan Sate, Sagaing Region, and Yangon Region.
The HIV infection rates are increasing among teenagers and young women, and a growing number of youths are living with an infected family member.
Understanding HIV-risk behavior requires a broad theoretical framework. Comprehensive HIV prevention programs have led to reduced risk behavior among HIV-affected youths and teens at risk of infection.
We believe that national campaigns which raise awareness and encourage behavioral changes are particularly crucial in fighting HIV and AIDS. High rates of new infections are being recorded among the youth who ordinarily are quite knowledgeable as they are exposed to literature and information through various platforms.
This year’s theme, ‘Communities Make the Difference’, is apt as the incidence of HIV and AIDS is a medical as well as a social problem. To reach the goal of “Towards UHC: Communities for an HIV-free Generation”, we need support from communities, parents, and teachers and we would like to underscore the necessity for local initiatives in the health sector to integrate the fight against the menace.


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