Young people need to be equipped with the knowledge to protect themselves from HIV

A senior Labour Euro MP is adding his voice to those who are calling on the government to be more proactive in raising HIV awareness among young people.

Michael Cashman MEP made the call on World Aids Day 2011 (December 1st) because of the worrying upward trend of new HIV diagnoses among 15-24 olds.

He said:

“World AIDS Day 2011 marks the 30th anniversary of the discovery of AIDS.  Since then many scientific advances have been made in HIV prevention and treatment.  But despite this, many people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others from HIV

“It’s a disturbing fact that HIV diagnoses in young people have increased by 70% since 2000.  Education in schools is crucial to tackle this, but it’s not always effective.

“Teaching the biology of HIV as part of the science curriculum is just not good enough.  We need to equip our young people with the knowledge to protect themselves. They need to understand the social dimensions of relationships.  Above all, they need to be able to talk about the issues of stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV.”

“That why I’m backing calls by the National Aids Trust to make Sex and Relationships education (SRE) compulsory in the national curriculum.”