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Youth hotline on HIV/AIDS launched in Minsk
Minsk, 1 March 2006 - A telephone hotline on HIV/AIDS for youth was launched today in the premises of the HIV/AIDS informational and educational consulting room under the UNDP project “HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment in the Republic of Belarus”.
From today anyone can dial the Minsk phone number 227 48 25 on workdays from 14.00 till 17.00 and receive answers to HIV/AIDS related questions.
The hotline is unique in the sense that calls from young people will be received and answered by their peers who have been trained as HIV/AIDS consultants. Particular questions requiring an expert’s consultation will be transferred to the specialists of the AIDS Prevention Department of the National Center of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Public Health.
Hotline coordinator Vitaliy Nikonovich considers this method of working with young people as very promising. “We expect the hotline to become very popular among the youth, as the HIV/AIDS problem touches on personal and intimate issues which is easier to discuss with one’s own peers and find understanding and useful advice,” Vitaliy said.
The number of persons registered as HIV-positive in Belarus as of 1 February, 2006 reached 7,103. More than 77% of all HIV-infected persons are between 15-29 years old.
According to the results of the sociological research “Study of knowledge and behavior of 15-24 year old people”, only 35 per cent of young people in Belarus have full information about the situations leading to the infection. The youth are highly prone to infection by sexual contacts, for only 25.9 per cent of them always use condoms, in spite of the fact that 61.7 percent of young people claim to have free access to prevention means.
For references: the HIV/AIDS informational and educational consulting room opened in December 2005 on the premises of the AIDS prevention Department of the National Center for Hygiene, Epidemiology and Public Health, in Minsk. It operates under the project “HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment in the Republic of Belarus” which is jointly implemented by the UNDP and the Belarusian Ministry of Health and funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
For further information please refer to UNDP Public Information Assistant Vladislav Khilkevich, at 227-38-17, or Public Information Assistant of the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment project, Olga Satsuk, at 8-029-403-96-44.
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