UK youth lack awareness on HIV

Britain has highest number of new HIV infections in Europe

Too many young people are unaware of the risks of HIV, despite the fact that they are most at risk of sexually transmitted infections, Unicef has warned.

According to a new report, those aged 16 to 24 account for 10% of all new diagnoses in the UK. We should encourage young people to practise safe sex and have better access to sexual health clinics, it concluded.

The UK has the highest number of new HIV infections in Western Europe – more than 7,700 in 2007. Lisa Power, of the HIV and Aids charity, the Terrence Higgins Trust said: ‘Globally, girls and young women remain far more vulnerable to HIV infection than young men, accounting for two-thirds of the 5.5 million 15 to 24-year-olds with HIV worldwide.”

Anita Tiessen, deputy executive director of Unicef, UK said many young people had heard of HIV and Aids but they did not know how it spread or whether they were at risk. Recent research also showed that young women find it hard to access sexual health services experiencing difficulties in making appointments and long waiting times.

‘HIV can be best avoided through a three-pronged approach,’ added Tiessen. ‘By making sure people have the right information, can access health services, and get protection when they need it.’

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