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HIV / AIDS Prevention: Background and Rationale

 

Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries having a population of over 135 million. Given the current population growth, large numbers of young people moving to urban centers for employment, increase in the numbers of female sex workers, high percentage of sex workers with syphilis (43%) and general ignorance by most people of how to protect themselves from HIV infection, a major HIV/AIDS prevention intervention is needed.

The numbers of HIV-positive cases, according to the government, is less than 300. But, actual numbers are certainly greater. These numbers are very low for a country the size of Bangladesh. That is the good news. The bad news is that new cases of HIV infection are doubling every year. At this rate, in 15 years, Bangladesh could have over 1 million HIV infected individuals. This is the reason why increased attention to HIV/AIDS prevention education is so desperately needed.

Bangladesh Youth First Concerns currently runs five (5) Drug Awareness Centers in rural areas of Bangladesh where no other health delivery system is present. Our focus is on prevention, motivation, vocational training, and volunteer training surrounding drug and narcotics addition. However, from years of experience of working with drug addicted young people in Bangladesh, we know that information alone is not sufficient to change behavior.

In response to this, BYFC is including Peer Education as a critical component of our proposed interventions. Peer Education is an innovative approach not only in its communication of STD/HIV/AIDS prevention practices, use of contraception, and avoiding unwanted pregnancies etc., but also its ability to influence and shape behavioral structures through interactive communication. To our knowledge, this has not been tried in Bangladesh with HIV/AIDS prevention education. Given the very conservative culture within Bangladesh, we feel Peer Education is a critical component to have any real impact on changing behavior. This approach makes use of the fact that well-trained, select peers will use the same language, possess similar experiences and have more credibility and authenticity than conventional educators.

By applying the principles and praxis of our Peer Education with drug and narcotics prevention to HIV/AIDS prevention education, we expect to maximize the likelihood that behaviors will change and that the HIV/AIDS growth rate in Bangladesh would be able to be reduced.

To explore our vision and learn more about the project details, click on the menu items on the left side of this webpage. Please contact us if you have any questions or desire to speak about this further!

 

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