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HIV/AIDS PREVENTION THROUGH SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH EDUCATION AMONGST RURAL YOUTH

HIV/AIDS will be a serious threat to our future generation if preventive measures are not systematically and effectively instituted. Sexual and reproductive health education amongst adolescents will help to reduce the risk of exposure to HIV/AIDS.

The 1995 National Study on Reproductive Health of Adolescents in Malaysia revealed that the majority of the adolescents do not receive adequate sex education from their parents and teachers. Peers are their main source of informants. There is also a growing tendency for earlier engagement in sexual activities. Most such activities take place without any form of protection thus putting young people at risk of pregnancy and getting infected with STD’s including HIV.

Sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescents and young people traditionally and still continues to receive inadequate attention due largely to socio-cultural constraints. However, Kedah FPA is always concerned on these inadequacies and feels the need to reach out to the youth. Empowering the youth through provision of adequate and correct information and education can lead to responsible behavior and living. Rural youth are most susceptible, as educational programs may not reach them. Also their traditional concepts may distort their awareness and approach to sexuality.

Kedah FPA therefore undertakes the responsibility to disseminate the knowledge of HIV/AIDS prevention through sexual and reproductive health education amongst rural youths. Kedah FPA planned an one-year on-going project beginning April 2003 and takes the strategy of utilizing youth camps which have proven to be an effective channel to work with young people including peer educators to empower them with adequate knowledge and skills in HIV/AIDS prevention and sensitization.

Under this project, 12 camps will be conducted which 2 camps are for the training of trainers and 10 camps for 10 secondary schools in the District of Kuala Nerang and Pokok Sena. The schools that are involved in this project are SMK Dato Syed Ahmad, SMK Lubuk Merbau, SMK Naka, SMK Padang Terap, SMk Pedu, SMK Kuala Nerang, SMK Pokok Sena, SMK Jabi, SM Sains Pokok Sena and SMK Bukit Payung. Each school will have 60 representatives to participate in this project.

The objective of this project is to expose youth with awareness and education on healthy lifestyle with special emphasis on sexual and reproductive health. The expected outcomes for this project are:
  • awareness and education on healthy lifestyle would be increased amongst 660 youths.
  • the 660 youths would have increased their knowledge and skills in identifying and avoiding high risk behaviors.
  • the 660 youths are able to communicate correctly on sexual and reproductive health to their peers.
The Family Life Education Sub-Committee and State FPA Manager will oversee the effectiveness of this project. The indicators of evaluation of the activity will be mainly quantitative in nature though qualitative indicators will also be used particularly on the responses from participants and through observations.

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