Our Priorities

The health of young people in China has improved substantially over the last thirty years. However, rapid social change has increased new HIV related risk behaviours among young people. For example, in the last decade pre-marital sex has become more common. Making sure that all young people have access to adequate HIV prevention information and services remains a challenge.

Reproductive health and drug rehabilitation services play a major role in preventing HIV among youth. At present, these services tend to target married couples and adults. While some youth-friendly services do exist and are effective for young people, widespread coverage remains a challenge.

In addition, young people most at risk of HIV infection – out of school youth, youth in juvenile centers, young migrant workers and youth in high HIV prevalence areas – are often beyond the reach of mainstream HIV prevention initiatives.

Empowering young people to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS

Under the motto, “Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS,UNICEF collaborates with local partners in China to encourage HIV prevention among young people.

The Youth Ambassador Network– This dynamic youth network mobilizes peer support for HIV prevention. Comprised of several thousand “YouthAmbassadors” and young volunteers, the network focuseson awareness raising, improved use of services, and protective behaviour among at-risk youth.  The network's website “Unite for Children, Unite Against AIDS,” serves as a resource for information on HIV prevention and related services.

With support from China Centre for Health Institute and other partners, Youth Ambassadors lead the HIV prevention social support network themselves. They organize group activities and provide guidance and referral to specialized services, such as HIV testing and counselling services, reproductive health and drug rehabilitation services.

HIV Prevention in Juvenile Centers– UNICEF contributes to a pilot HIV prevention curriculum for residents of juvenile centers. The project aims to increase this vulnerable group's knowledge about drug and HIV-prevention while strengthening their knowledge and application of life skills.

Youth Friendly Services – UNICEF supports government efforts to develop guidelines on integration of youth-friendly strategies into mainstream social services. These guidelines provide advice about the integration of youth tailored HIV information and services in existing training modules and operational directives.

Making a difference

Our HIV prevention work is helping to strengthen initiatives that enable young people in China to stay healthy and prevent transmission of HIV.

The Youth Ambassador Network has contributed to a widespread increase in knowledge about HIV/AIDS, as well as to young people acquiring the life-skills necessary to protect themselves from transmission of HIV. As a result, a higher percentage of young people in China, now know their HIV status and are willing to act in a way that protects themselves and others from becoming infected with HIV.

The pilot program on HIV prevention among young people in juvenile centres has shown promise, and is now being applied on a broader scale.

You can help to prevent the transmission of HIV. Take action by learning more about how you can and cannot become infected with HIV. Or find out how you can support UNICEF today.

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