SK-L: U.N.: More than 3 million young people got HIV last year (fwd)

Leslie Schentag (
Fri, 26 Feb 1999 08:53:51 -0800 (PST)

  Leslie Schentag
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Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 17:54:11 -0800 (PST)
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Subject: SK-L: U.N.: More than 3 million young people got HIV last year

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   U.N.: More than 3 million young people got HIV last year
   4.12 p.m. ET (2112 GMT) February 25, 1999

   By Clare Nullis, Associated Press

     FOOTNOTE: GENEVA (AP) Six young people are infected with the AIDS
     virus every minute, the United Nations said Thursday as it launched
     a new campaign to slow the spread of the epidemic among youth.

     Nearly 600,000 children under 15 and 2.5 million people aged 15-24
     caught the Human Immunodeficiency Virus last year, it said.

     "Too many children are still being deprived of AIDS information and
     skills because of fears by adults including government authorities
     that education will increase sexual activity when evidence shows
     the opposite is true,'' said Peter Piot, head of UNAIDS.

     The UNAIDS campaign, called "Listen, Learn, Live,'' is aimed at
     increasing dialogue with the young about the risks of catching the
     disease through unprotected sex and other high-risk behavior like
     intravenous drug use.

     "Working with people under 25 is perhaps the best hope we have
     today of bringing the epidemic under control,'' Piot said in a
     statement ahead of the campaign's launch in Brasilia, the Brazilian

     In all, an estimated 33.4 million people were estimated to be
     living with the HIV virus last year, of whom 43 percent were women,
     according to U.N. figures. In some of the worst-hit countries in
     southern Africa, more than two out of five pregnant women attending
     prenatal clinics have the virus and risk passing it on to their

     During 1998, more than 8,500 children and young people were
     infected each day, the U.N. AIDS program said. The virus usually
     leads to the development of full-blown AIDS within eight to ten

     While much attention has focused on young adults, UNAIDS said there
     was cause for concern about the rate of sexual transmission among
     children aged 10-14.

     It cited a Pan American Health Organization survey of school
     children in four Caribbean countries in which 40 percent of
     children claimed to have had their first sexual experience before
     the age of ten. The survey found that half of all sexually active
     adolescents said they did not use contraception during their most
     recent intercourse.

     According to a Peruvian study of young adults aged 19-30, only 11
     percent used condoms consistently and 22 percent reported an
     unplanned pregnancy. A separate Peruvian study found that 90
     percent of young mothers aged 14-16 were victims of rape the
     majority by their father or another relative.

     UNAIDS wants to use the campaign to encourage more open
     communication and education. It is working with the music channel
     MTV, as well as the international scout movement and teachers'

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