USAID funding new HIV/AIDS website targeting youths
October 12, 2002
Some of those involved with the HIV/AIDS/STI Youth Project going through pages of the website launched Wednesday.
A NEW website on the Internet, targeting young people especially, has been launched to offer Guyanese a safe place of learning about HIV/AIDS,
To be accessed at www.guyanayouth.com, it is being funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) at its Subryanville, Georgetown office.
The initiative of Guyana HIV/AIDS/STI Youth Project will make available answers to myriad lingering questions in relation to the dreaded disease and other socially transmitted infections (STIs), officials said.
The undertaking is through collaboration among eight local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working to proliferate the anti-HIV/AIDS message.
Those involved are Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association (GHRA), Lifeline Counselling Services, Hope Foundation/Artistes in Direct Support, Volunteer Youth Corps, Youth Challenge Guyana, Lindencare Foundation and Comforting Hearts.
USAID HIV-AIDS Technical Advisor, Mr William Slater said the launch is the result of planning for some time and, among the objectives are to bring together the group of primary NGOs that make up Guyana HIV/AIDS/STI Youth Project, which was started two years ago with the focus on persons between eight and 25 years old.
The scheme employs a variety of strategies to educate youths about HIV/AIDS awareness, peer education and behaviour change communication and translate that knowledge into action.
Slater said, over the next five years through 2008, the website is one of the tools to be used for determining what more could be done in the area of HIV/AIDS.
He said they realise that access to the Internet and the worldwide web is growing and the website performance will be monitored and evaluated for adjustments to be made accordingly.
Chairperson of Lindencare, Ms Hazel Benn said a revision of the thrust noted the strengths gained so far because of heightened peer education within the eight NGOs.
"We know that young people are out there waiting to access information about HIV and AIDS. And so that is part of our satisfaction about seeing this site launched," she said.
Family Health International consultant Natasha Habibullah pointed out that the Home Page was made as user friendly as possible, with games, pop quizzes, facts and colourful photos, questions and answers and Word Power for children.
With an interactive site that invites participants into the eight NGOs, it seeks to offer cyberspace as a new medium for education on prevention of HIV/AIDS and other STIs, care, support and, ultimately, changes in behaviour that puts Guyanese youths at risk, she observed.
The site reports that 75 per cent of HIV/AIDS infections are among youths between 19 and 35 years of age but it would be updated with an input about those in the eight to 25 range.
Other information said that, in Guyana, where HIV/AIDS has the second highest prevalence in the Caribbean after Haiti, less than 20 per cent of those infected are aware.
The HIV/AIDS/STI Youth Project, begun in May 2000, is led by a steering committee comprising representatives of the eight NGOs and gets technical assistance on behaviour change communication and care and support from Family Health International's Arlington Virginia Institute for HIV/AIDS, which has engaged a local team of experts to help reach the full potential.